Geothermal/Fire Resources

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Geothermal Fire Resources

Fire Resources
Present, Potentially Affected

Fire emergency plans accompany every geothermal site to decrease collateral, personal, and resource damage. These plans strive to train employees on fire prevention, initial response procedures and how to operate fire extinguishers. Acquiring these skills will help keep employees and site visitors safe.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires each site to develop a fire management plan, while the United States Forest Service (USFS) mandates Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL) to limit activities that would heighten a fire risk. Each IFPL level is outlined below.

Level 1

  • Chainsaws are permitted and a Fire Watch/Security is in effect.

Level 2 or Partial Hootowl

  • Power saws, cable yarding, blasting, welding or metal cutting operations are only allowed between the hours of 8pm-1pm

Level 3 or Partial Shutdown

  • Cable yarding and power saws are prohibited with few exceptions.
  • The following are allowed only between the hours of 8pm-1pm
    • Tractors and equipment with blades
    • Blasting and spark emitting operations
    • Welding and metal cutting

Level 4 or General Shutdown

  • All operations are prohibited until further notice

U.S. National Forest-Industrial Fire Precaution Levels

Fire Resources Impacts & Mitigation

Fire types: Wildfires, and electrical and grassland fires have the potential to occur at geothermal sites. Fire prevention and emergency preparation plans can limit the risk of ignition, and also expedite response time in containing and extinguishing a fire. Typical fire mitigation for the following categories may include:

Vehicles on site: All construction equipment is required to have a fire extinguisher, exhaust spark arresters, 5 gallons of water and a shovel. Catalytic converters must be inspected and cleaned on construction vehicles. Personal vehicles and dormant construction equipment are to be parked on existing well pads and existing access roads to prevent vegetation ignition.

Water resources: Water used during construction for dust control is also designated for extinguishing fires.

Employee Behavior: Smoking is only allowed in designated smoking areas.

Emergency Response: All emergency phone numbers are to be posted in buildings and in vehicles. Geothermal sites must comply with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USFS area closures.

Welding and Cutting: At least one person is to accompany the welder or metal cutter at the work site to increase emergency reaction time and administer first aid to the welder or metal cutter. Welding and metal cutting operations are prohibited near vegetation.

Slash and Burn: These piles are managed, disposed of and funded by the USFS.