WILDFIRE

Rocky Mountain Power working on canyon power lines to mitigate wildfires

Aug 25, 2022, 12:50 PM | Updated: 12:51 pm
mountain power lines...
Rocky Mountain Power crews bury overhead power lines in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Rocky Mountain will be replacing segments of its overhead power lines with an underground conduit in Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood and Millcreek canyons while upgrading the existing overhead systems to be more resilient to weather and environmental factors like landslides and avalanches. (Jeffrey D. Allred/ Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  A current inconvenience for drivers on SR-190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon is meant to help mitigate the risk of wildfires, in part due to canyon power lines. Officials are hoping that knowledge will help drivers be more patient as the work continues. 

“We’re trying to make sure our system is not the cause of a wildfire,” said Rocky Mountain Power Spokesman David Eskelsen.

Rocky Mountain Power is undertaking three big fire mitigation projects involving canyon power lines at the same time. Along with Big Cottonwood Canyon, there’s also work happening in Millcreek Canyon and the Salt Lake Foothills.

Each of the projects has unique aspects, with the company burying power lines underground in some segments, and in others, reinforcing the lines that are already above ground.

“In areas like these (urban canyons), they can be vulnerable to trees and weather,” Eskelsen said.

Eskelsen said the company is focusing on these areas since they are wildlands so close to an urban population.

Power officials will end work on the Big Cottonwood project by October, with final completion expected sometime next spring. The Millcreek project was slated to end this month. 

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