Wind Turbines Undamaged by Central Wash. Fire

Aug 24, 2012

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Melbardis: “We found no significant damage at all. A couple of areas of just some cosmetic damage, but nothing that paper towels won’t clean the smoke off of.”

The company shut off the turbines as the fire approached. Melbardis says that’s so firefighters would not have to worry about high-voltage electricity. He say the turbines are now running at full-capacity.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio