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Introduction to Utility Wildfire Risk Mitigation Webinar

Thursday, July, 14th 2022 10:00am to 12:00pm


Wildfire fuel mitigation within utility corridors is more crucial than ever, especially as peak fire season approaches. Continued extreme drought conditions coupled with California’s ever-increasing electrical demand directly results in exceptionally flammable vegetation near charged electrical power lines. 
Thank you to those who joined us in learning about California's utility vegetation regulatory framework and methods for mitigating wildfire ignitions from five utility industry expert practitioners.
Webinar Agenda
Time agenda item
10:00am Workshop begins. Welcome!
  Chris Coker: CA Utility Vegetation Management, a brief history and background
  Eric Brown: Vegetation Management: Wildfire Risk and LiDAR
  Chuck Dykes: Wildfire Mitigation Plan 2022 Update
  Ty McCartney: Overview of Power Line Fire Prevention Field Guide
  Bill Molumby: Fuels or Vegetation Management; reading between the lines
11:30 Moderated Q&A
12:00pm Webinar complete


Chris Coker, Director of Health, Safety, and Operational Risk at Iapetus Infrastructure Services

Chris Coker is the Director of Health, Safety and Operational Risk for Iapetus Infrastructure Services companies (speaker note: “Iapetus” is pronounced “ai-aa-puh-tuhs”), a portfolio of energy services companies specializing in a wide range of scopes, including risk management, asset inspection, safety program development, storm response, and unmanned aerial vehicle data collection. His experiences span across electric utility leadership in vegetation management, law, safety, regulatory affairs, and wildfire program management. Chris is an ISA Certified Arborist and Utility Specialist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Risk Management, and lives in Southern California.


Eric Brown, Grid Assets - Vegetation Management Manager at Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Eric Brown is the Immediate Past Utility Arborist Association (UAA) President – (2019-2020) Elect (2018/19) Vice President (2017), and Western Region Representative (Since 2015). He has been actively involved in the North American Transmission Forum (NATF) since 2009 leading and participating in Vegetation Management Peer Reviews across North America. Currently, Eric serves on the NATF Vegetation Management Core Team, Reliability Action Response (RAT), and supports the NATF Vegetation Management Practices Team. Eric was invited to participate as a subject matter expert on the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Integrated Vegetation Management Project Guidance Team (2015). Finally, Eric has been a Director for Eldorado County Fire Safe Council (2017- Present), where he has been contributing as a utility representative for several years.
Eric has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management with emphasis in Forestry and Range Management from University of Nevada-Reno (1998). He is a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). He also holds a Qualified Applicators License through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Tree Risk Assessment Qualified.
Eric Brown is currently the Vegetation Management Manager for Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in Grid Assets responsible for the Electric Transmission and Distribution Vegetation Management program. Previously Eric worked as the Supervising Northern Program Manager for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Electric Transmission Vegetation Management Program. Eric has held several roles of increasing responsibility while at Pacific Gas and Electric for 20 years (8 as a contractor with ACRT and 12 as a PG&E employee) on both the Electric Transmission and Distribution side of the business. Eric and colleagues were also awarded (2) Richard A. Clarke Champion awards for Environmental Leadership specifically for: American River Pollinator Partnership Project (2014) and Electric Transmission Right-of-Way Stewardship Accreditation (2015). 2020 SMUD Power Done Right Award, Wildfire Mitigation Plan Team.
Eric has 24 years of experience working in the Vegetation Management industry, which includes areas of industrial forestry, range management, and utility forestry respectively.

Chuck Dykes, Technical Specialist, Advisor at Southern California Edison Vegetation Management

B.S Horticulture / ISA Certified Arborist / ISA Utility Arborist / TRAQ Qualified

2000 – 2016, Utility vegetation management consultant; evaluating and auditing utility vegetation management processes and programs across the United States and Canada.

2016 – Present, Southern California Edison; operating, implementing, and executing best practices for Southern California Edison’s utility vegetation management programs.


Ty McCartney, Vegetation Asset Strategy and Analytics - Asset Management Specialist, Principal at Pacific Gas & Electric Company

For over 24 years, Ty McCartney has worked to develop expertise in wildland fire management and prevention in California. Interest in the unique management challenges represented by Mediterranean ecosystems led to a career of involvement in developing utility fire prevention programs. Early career focused on Vegetation Management programs and the associated compliance requirements with continued work in academics. Continuously emphasizing the importance of programs that reduced wildland fire risks led to him filling several evolving roles in  PG&E’s Wildfire Risk Management programs.

Mr. McCartney has worked methodically to develop a background specific to utility fire prevention, regulatory compliance, utilization of new technologies and the education of others. His most rewarding roles have fostered a safe working environment through developing and refining a culture that encourages continuous improvement. Commitment and dedication have allowed significant growth with each year of experience. Mr. McCartney has a passion to serve, and believes in the merits of consistent maintenance and public safety programs.


Bill Molumby, Fire Coordinator, Fire Science & Climate Adaptation Department at San Diego Gas & Electric

Bill serves as a Fire Coordinator within the Fire Science & Climate Adaptation Department of San Diego Gas & Electric.  His primary responsibility is fuels management in the context of wildland fire for the purpose of utility infrastructure risk mitigation, grid reliability, and community protection. The fuels management program focus is to find ways to treat wildland fuels within and adjacent to utility right of ways and then work collaboratively in planning and implementing projects with community partners to achieve mutually beneficial results. An important element of this program is community defensible space and public safety. 

Bill is a wildland fire management practitioner by trade. His career in wildland fire management has spanned 45 years, including tours with the US Forest Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service as a fire fighter on engines, hotshot crews, and senior management.  His last position was Fire Management Officer for the USF&WS Pacific Region in Southern California where he managed the wildland fire program responsibilities for six FWS refuges (Hopper, Bitter, Blue Ridge, Tijuana Slough, Salt Water Marsh, & San Diego refuges).  

Bill served on federal incident management teams, achieving the qualification of incident commander on California Interagency Incident Management Team 2.  He also participated on training cadres and course development teams at the national level, including L-580 Leadership is Action, L-480 Organizational Leadership, and S-520 Complex Incident Management.   

Bill received an Associate of Arts from San Diego Mesa College, with undergraduate studies in Ecology at the University of California San Diego, Emergency Management at National Advance Fire & Resource Institute, and Resource Management at the National Conservation Training Center. 

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