Washington utility has no plans to shut off power for fires

Wildfires

During last year’s Labor Day fires, a tree fell into Avista power lines and ignited a fire that destroyed much of Malden, Washington

A commercial building that was destroyed by wildfire is shown Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Malden, Wash. High winds kicked up wildfires across the Pacific Northwest on Monday and Tuesday, burning hundreds of thousands of acres and mostly destroying the small town of Malden in eastern Washington state. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state utility company says it has no plans to shut off power to prevent wildfires this summer after a blaze that destroyed more than 100 homes last year was sparked by a tree falling onto the utility’s lines.

Some electric companies have temporarily cut power to parts of their service areas during wind storms in recent years in a bid to prevent fires.

But Avista Utilities representative Dave James tells the Spokesman-Review power shut downs for public safety are not an option for the utility at this point.

During last year’s Labor Day fires, a tree fell into Avista power lines and ignited a fire that destroyed much of Malden, Washington.

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