Mitigate Wildfire Risk with Ductile Iron Poles

Over the past few years, the destruction of wildfires has grown, particularly in the western U.S. This growth has been linked to rising temperatures, drier summers, more drought periods, and earlier snowmelt. Nationally, the World Meteorological Organization has reported that although the overall number of wildfires has decreased, the destruction and burn area has increased over 500% since the 1970s.

Many utilities and government agencies in the U.S. are taking steps to mitigate risk associated with their infrastructures as they relate to wildfires. In fact, the State of California has issued General Order (GO) 95, which requires utilities to upgrade wooden utility structures, including electrical poles. Due to this Order, utilities will need to implement use of non-wood utility poles or other mitigation.

Fire Resistance

What are ductile iron poles?

Ductile iron contains the same ingredients as cast iron, but with a different configuration of carbon. In cast iron, carbon is in flake form, while in ductile iron, the carbon is in nodular form. The result is that ductile iron has the ability withstand intense load pressure and is resistant to extreme heat, even over extended periods of time.

Fire Resistance

Why choose ductile iron poles?

The growing wildfire risk in many areas of the U.S. is forcing utilities and other companies to develop solutions that decrease use of flammable materials. Wood-alternative products are being considered and, in some cases, mandated by law. Ductile iron utility poles provide a non-wood solution to utilities who need to replace existing distribution and transmission pole lines or expand service.

The evidence from independent tests on ductile iron poles concluded the following:

  • Ductile iron utility poles proved to be fire-proof*, heat resistant and able to sustain loads well beyond requirements before failure, even after being subject to excessive heat over a sustained amount of time.
  • In areas with an increased risk of wildfires, ductile iron utility poles would withstand extreme and prolonged fire/heat applications and heavy loading and emerge undamaged and completely intact.
  • Ductile iron poles should be considered by utility companies with distribution and transmission lines in wildfire risk areas for replacement or expansion.

* As demonstrated by the Western Center Fire Center Test and EDM Full-Scale Burn and Bend Test.

To review our full report on the heat and fire resistance benefits of ductile iron poles, please contact us at sales@mcwanepoles.com.