Spring – a time of year for birds, flowers and the occasional pole fire

Spring is unique around here.

One moment you’re enjoying your first walk in sandals and then next thing you know the temperature drops, the clouds roll in and suddenly you’re facing freezing rain or snow.

While these changes in weather can be frustrating if you’re looking for a little patio time, for some of the power poles around Calgary these are exactly the right conditions to start a pole fire.

pole fire 1

Pole fires happen when salt that’s used to melt ice and snow on the road becomes airborne from high speed traffic or winds, and collects on power poles and insulators. Add some snow, rain or a misty fog along with the salt and a short circuit can occur. This can heat the wood and lead to a fire.

 A little spring cleaning goes a long way

Some of the ways we’re working to prevent pole fires is by power-washing poles and insulators.

Another way we’re lessening the risk of pole fires in the future is by retrofitting wooden pole materials with less conductive and fire-resistant materials like fibreglass and polyethylene.

 What you should do if you see a pole fire

If you see a pole fire:

  • Move to a safe area well away from the pole and wires
  • Do not attempt to put out the fire
  • Report the fire by calling 9-1-1 and the ENMAX Power Trouble Line at 403-514-6100
  • Make sure ENMAX crews and emergency responders have room to work when they arrive

Pole fires are rare, and only a fraction of the approximately 65,000 power poles around Calgary are considered to be at a high risk of experiencing a fire in this fashion.

And while pole fires may still happen – our Distributed Automation system minimizes the number of homes and businesses without power by rerouting electricity around the fire.

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