Board updated on fire damage to Tri-State’s system

At the July 10-11 board meeting held in Westminster, Joel Bladow, senior vice president of transmission, provided directors with an update on fire damage to Tri-State’s system. As has been reported in recent weeks in Powering the West, tinder dry conditions, high winds and lightning have triggered multiple major fires that have heavily impacted the association’s members, as well as some damage to Tri-State’s transmission lines.

So far this fire season, the Last Chance-South Fork line sustained the most costly damage on the Tri-State system.

By far the most extensive and costly Tri-State fire season damage to date occurred on the Last Chance-South Fork 115-kV line in northeastern Colorado, where a total of 18 line structures were destroyed or damaged by the blaze. Tri-State line crews repaired the line in four days.

Preliminary damage estimates are projected at approximately $240,000, according to Bladow. Tri-State is waiting to hear whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist in funding repair costs for this line.

A grass fire also caused some damage to structures on Tri-State’s 115-kV Burlington-Wray line in eastern Colorado. No immediate structure repairs were required on this line, although some repairs may be scheduled at a later date.

In Nebraska, a grass fire damaged eight structures on the 230-kV Sidney-Stegall Line, which is jointly owned by participants in the Missouri Basin Power Project. MBPP encompasses Laramie River Station and its ancillary transmission lines and other assets. Tri-State owns a 24 percent share in this line.

The association’s crews from Ogallala, Neb., Cheyenne, Wyo., and Brush, Colo., were dispatched to the site and completed repairs within three days. Tri-State’s share of the damage to this line is estimated at $42,000.

In Nebraska, the Sidney-Stegall line had eight structures destroyed by wildfire.

In northern Colorado, at the site of the High Park Fire, which did extensive damage to homes and distribution infrastructure on Poudre Valley REA’s system, Tri-State sustained some damage to its telecommunications site equipment on Buckhorn Mountain. Damage is estimated at $26,000.

In southwestern Colorado, a lightning strike damaged equipment at Tri-State’s Cascade Substation. Southwest of the Cascade sub, near Mancos, the 10-acre Weber Fire in Empire Electric Association’s service territory damaged a line on the co-op’s system and destroyed a WAPA communications site, but spared Tri-State’s nearby Menefee communications site. Tri-State’s backup generator at the communications site provided power to assist Empire Electric in making repairs to its system.

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