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Preparing for Outages

The first step in preparing for potential power outages is updating your contact information in My Account and signing up for outage alerts. Also consider taking these additional steps:

  • Set your fridge and freezer to the coldest setting to keep food cold for up to 4 hours in the fridge and up to 48 hours in the freezer.
  • Turn off or unplug electrical appliances or equipment that could surge when power returns.
  • Consider purchasing portable charger banks and stock up on batteries.
  • Keep your pets’ needs in mind when obtaining supplies.
  • Practice opening garage doors without the electronic motor.
  • Acquire a first aid kit of sufficient size for your household and keep it stocked.
  • Keep an emergency supply of prescription and non-prescription medications on hand, and plan for medications, like insulin, that require refrigeration.
  • Fully charge personal medical devices and ensure a backup power source is available for electrically powered medical equipment.
  • Designate a dedicated outdoor space for generators, grills and stoves, and make sure they are functioning properly. Do not operate these items indoors or in partially enclosed spaces.
  • Write down emergency numbers and critical contact information.
  • Check in with neighbors, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.

For more information on how to prepare for power outages, visit our Outage and Safety page.

Vegetation Management

As part of the Wildfire Mitigation Program, our team conducts enhanced vegetation management work which includes trimming and clearing trees, shrubs, dense grasses and other vegetation around structures, corridors and equipment throughout identified Wildfire Risk Zones. Vegetation management helps reduce power outages and allows our crews to work safely on power lines.

Tree Pruning and Maintenance 

Trees near power lines, either through growth or broken branch failure, can cause downed lines, power outages and fire ignition risk. Tree pruning is the selective removal of branches that are too close to a power line or that will grow too close to a powerline before the next maintenance cycle. Xcel Energy prunes and/or removes trees on our regular maintenance schedule – usually between every three to five years. There is no charge for the tree work that we or our contractors perform on your property. Our goal is to provide safe, reliable electric service while also taking the best possible care of a community’s valuable natural resource.

Tree Removal 

Xcel Energy will contact you, or you may contact Xcel Energy, when circumstances call for tree removal on your property. Most trees evaluated for removal are dead, dying or diseased – these are known as hazard trees. Tree removal may be done using specialized equipment, bucket trucks or climbing crews. When equipment is used, smaller branches will be chipped and hauled away. Larger branches will be cut into manageable sized lengths and left on site. In inaccessible areas requiring walk-in crews, resulting debris will be managed using U.S. Forest Service best management practices.

Pole-to-House Pruning  

Pole-to-house lines have the least impact on large-scale power outages, so we only trim for clearance along these lines when major interference exists such as broken limbs on the lines. Remember, pole-to-house lines are fully energized and extremely dangerous. You may hire a qualified professional tree trimmer to perform this work in some areas.

Click here for the Wildfire Mitigation Program Vegetation Management information sheet.

Creating Defensible Space

Did you know that embers and small flames are the main source of ignition for most homes destroyed by wildfires? To increase your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire, create defensible space on your property.

According to the experts at Cal Fire, defensible space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire, and it helps protect your home from catching fire—it also provides firefighters a safe area to work in to defend your home. Firefighters always do their best to reduce fire damage, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect your property.

Zone 0 extends five feet from the exterior of a home, Zone 1 extends five to 30 feet from the exterior of a home and Zone 2 extends 30 to 100 feet from the exterior of a home or to the edge of the property line, whichever is farthest. Here are some steps you can take to create defensible space in each zone:

Zone 0 (0 to 5 feet)

  • Use hardscape like gravel, pavers, concrete and other noncombustible mulch materials.
  • Remove all dead and dying vegetation and debris (leaves, needles, cones, bark, etc.) from roofs, gutters, decks, porches and stairways.
  • Remove all branches within 10 feet of any chimney or stovepipe outlet.
  • Limit combustible items (outdoor furniture, planters, etc.) on top of decks.
  • Replace combustible fencing, gates and arbors attached to the home with noncombustible alternatives.
  • Consider relocating garbage and recycling containers outside this zone.
  • Consider relocating boats, RVs, vehicles and other combustible items outside this zone.

Zone 1 (5 to 30 feet)

  • Remove all dead vegetation.
  • Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard.
  • Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
  • Relocate wood piles to Zone 2.
  • Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
  • Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Zone 2 (30 to 100 feet)

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees.
  • Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees.
  • Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones and small branches.
  • All exposed wood piles must have a minimum of 10 feet of clearance, down to bare soil, in all directions.
  • For more information on defensible space and wildfire preparedness, visit

At Xcel Energy, we’re working hard every day to improve safety and reduce wildfire threats across our service area. As climate conditions have changed throughout the west, the traditional idea of a fire “season” has evolved into a year-long battle against rapidly changing and extreme weather conditions that can generate larger, more intense and faster moving wildfires. As part of our commitment to safety, our comprehensive Wildfire Mitigation Program was designed to minimize the risk of electrical infrastructure-caused wildfires to help protect lives, homes and property in Colorado. In doing so, we are helping to create a sustainable future for Coloradans who rely on us to power their lives every day.

Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Resources

Xcel Energy Natural Gas and Electric Safety

Public safety is at the foundation of all we do. The safety of the public around our electric and natural gas systems influences every decision we make. All of Xcel Energy’s electric and natural gas infrastructure has been designed to meet federal and state standards and safety requirements for installing, maintaining and operating this equipment.

Do not touch downed electric lines or anyone or anything in contact with them. Instead, clear the area immediately and contact Xcel Energy’s emergency number: 800-895-1999. Call 911 in an emergency.

Downed or low-hanging power lines and damaged electrical equipment have the potential to cause serious injuries or even death. Always assume that electric lines and equipment are energized, even if they do not appear to be “live.” We recommend you stay at least 25 feet away from downed lines and 10 feet away from overhead lines.

Find out more about Xcel Energy’s electric system safety.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the building immediately.

Once you are a safe distance away, call 911, then Xcel Energy at 800-895-2999. It is important to know how to recognize potentially dangerous natural gas leaks, so use your senses. Signs of a natural gas leak include:

  • A “rotten egg” or sulfur-like odor, though it may smell differently to you.
  • Hissing, whistling or roaring sounds outside near the natural gas line or inside near an appliance.
  • Dirt spraying into the air or continuous bubbling in a pond or creek.
  • Unexplained dead or dying vegetation.

Learn more about Xcel Energy’s gas system safety.

After a 911 call, emergency services are often the first to arrive at the scene, so we offer first responders safety guidance and training to respond to natural gas and electric emergencies.