Santiago Fire - 2007

In 2007 the Santiago Fire burned over 28,000 acres, almost all of which is in the IRWD service area.  Electricity and communication links were lost to nine reservoirs, six pump stations and a small water treatment plant. Prior to the fire, IRWD had completed a comprehensive capital project to install external electrical and water service connections to critical pump stations such that water could be pumped into reservoirs and pressure maintained during a loss of electrical service associated with fire.

When the fire occurred, IRWD crews implemented emergency operations procedures and worked around the clock to keep the water flowing to fire fighters by connecting emergency generators, operating pumps and manually measuring reservoir depths in areas where downed power and phone lines disabled electronic monitoring systems. IRWD crews installed portable diesel tanks throughout the area to refuel the generators and installed remote communication devices to restore monitoring systems until phone lines became operational again. Because of these efforts, water service to residents, and more importantly to firefighters, was maintained throughout the fire episode. IRWD supplied an estimated 10 million gallons of water per day to help fight the fire, compared to normal consumption of approximately two million gallons per day.

After the fires, IRWD established an outreach program to impacted customers and waived late fees, offered alternative payment arrangements, increased water allotments to ensure that customers in the fire area would not be penalized for using water to protect their homes, and waived meter charges for fire-damaged homes.