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Avista taking measures to prevent wildfires during electric outages

Avista Utilities is taking measures to prevent wildfires when the utility restores electricity after outages in rural areas, which could mean longer waits for customers.

Normally, lines in rural or forested areas are re-energized automatically after an outage. But because of dry conditions, the utility is sending workers out to inspect the line and make sure that a tree or branch hasn’t fallen on it. During dry conditions, those kinds of hazards pose a potential fire danger when the line is re-energized, said Debbie Simock, an Avista spokeswoman.

As the result of the inspections, power outages could last longer, she said.

Inland Power and Light also sends out crews to inspect lines before re-energizing them for safety purposes, said Jennifer Lutz, the utility’s spokeswoman.

The Yale Road Fire was started last Sunday by a tree falling on a power line.

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