National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Power Line Safety


Operating near or under power lines poses unique hazards, and the following precautions should be followed to reduce potential injury or equipment damage:

  • If possible, the power company should deactivate lines in the fire area.
  • Don’t operate heavy equipment under power lines.
  • Don’t drive with long antennas under power lines.
  • Don’t park under power lines. The magnetic field around energized power lines can induce an electrical charge in ungrounded vehicles or equipment. This charge can shock anyone who touches the vehicle.
  • Keep all aviation activity away from power lines. Inform air attack and/or other aviation resources of the location of the power lines.
  • Don’t stand near power lines during retardant drops.
  • Don’t apply a straight stream to power lines.
  • All personnel should be cautioned that smoke may become charged and conduct the electrical current. Deactivated transmission and distribution lines may continue to pose a hazard due to induction.
  • If power lines fall on your vehicle, DON’T leave the vehicle until the power company arrives. If the vehicle is on fire or fire is near the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends car accident victims in imminent danger from a fire or other hazards exit the car by jumping clear without touching the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Try to land with feet together and shuffle away in small steps.

Discussion Topics:

  • Have you ever reached out to the local power company to provide a tailgate safety briefing at your local unit?
  • Have you built a relationship with your local power company?


Misc Fireline Hazards
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
May 2023

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