Wallow fire could endanger TEP station or transmission

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- We know the Wallow fire's been affecting wildlife homes, residents and could be heading toward Tucson Electric Power's primary generating station.

As the line of fire continues to grow, so does the anxiety for the people near the Wallow fire.

Tucson Electric Power has some concerns of its own, a power plant in Springerville.

"Tucson Electric Power's largest power plant is in the area where the wallow fire is burning its not in the immediate area its probably 30 miles away," said Joe Salkowski from Tucson Electric Power.

Even closer to the fire is a group of transmission lines.

"The fire is burning near a pair of transmission lines that we use to deliver power from Springerville generating station to Tucson," said Salkowski.

TEP is keeping a close eye on the wildfire and they're in contact with the firefighters. They say if the fire gets within a mile to a half mile of the line, they may have to hit the off switch.

"There is a possibility that if the winds change and start blowing the fire towards our lines we could be in a situation where those lines would short out or where we would be forced to to shut them down for the safety of firefighters," said Salkowski.

But TEP says not to be alarmed if there is a shut down, it has enough power to take care of Tucson residents.

"That in itself would not cause power outages here in Tucson, but it would make us more vulnerable to outages in the event something else occurs," said Salkowski.

That something else could mean another transmission line going down in another area. For now TEP is worried about the employees that live and work up in Springerville.

"We do have hundreds of employees that live and work in the White Mountains," said Salkowski.