CEO’s Message – July 2022

Wildfire Season Is Coming

Headshot of Clay FitchWhile some wildfires are caused by lightning, approximately 90% are caused by human error. Many times, wildfires occur when campfires are left unattended, debris is burned improperly or cigarettes are carelessly discarded.

A wildfire can grow rapidly out of control when the three following elements are present: oxygen, fuel, and a heat source. The fuel can be any flammable material near the wildfire, and the heat source can be campfires, cigarettes, or even warm winds. With the combination of these three things, a violent wildfire can ensue.

By taking a few extra precautions, campers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the sights of nature without causing a wildfire. Here are a few tips from National Geographic to help prevent wildfires:

  • Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure you completely extinguish the fire when you’re done – Drench the fire with water and stir the ashes until cold
  • Play it safe when using fueled lanterns, heaters, and stoves – Lighting and heating devices should be cool before refueling. Keep flammable liquids and fuel away from appliances
  • Never discard cigarettes, matches, or smoking materials from moving vehicles – Do not toss them on the ground – Completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them
  • When burning yard waste, follow local ordinances – Avoid burning in windy conditions – Keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check

If conditions are right and you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, evacuate immediately. Listen to local emergency notifications for the most up-to-date information. Better yet, make a wildfire plan for you and your family before a fire occurs.

While your individual plans and actions can reduce the risk wildfire poses for your home or business, Wells Rural Electric Company has plans and takes actions to protect your power supply from wildfire. WREC relies on 1,421 miles of distribution power lines and an interstate network of transmission lines to deliver safe, reliable, affordable, clean energy to you. While we have been much more fortunate than other utilities, wildfires have destroyed sections of our lines and caused outages.

We take numerous steps to mitigate wildfire risk, including clearing rights-of-way of vegetation with mowing and herbicides, replanting with fire-resistant species, trimming trees, and maintaining and upgrading our system. We also train our crews to respond to accidental fires and have two fire trucks we can use in collaboration with first responders to protect our infrastructure.

Help us keep our service reliable by doing your part to prevent wildfires. For more information about wildfire safety and prevention, visit’s page on wildfires.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer