09:57 AM

Media Invited to Ride Along for the Forest 500

To join for the Forest 500 tour happening on Sept. 29 contact Erica Roelfs at erica.roelfs@srpnet.com.


Members of the media are invited to ride along for SRP’s Forest 500.

On Sept. 29 and select days this fall, SRP Media Relations are coordinating media tours as SRP crews and contractors clear thousands of square feet of brush growing under SRP’s 500kV transmission lines as part of the “Forest 500.” This effort happens every five years in northeastern Arizona in an area called the "Right of Way" or "ROW,” a critical intersection of transmission lines that run through Apache-Sitgreaves Forests and Tonto National Forest to SRP's Silverking substation.

The Forest 500 takes months to complete, with crews using large industrial mowers as well as hand-cutting techniques to cut down brush. The ultimate goal is to protect the transmission lines from the threat of wildfires in the coming years. Keeping vegetation low to the ground allows forest fires to burn quickly through an area and extinguish themselves, lessening the risk for tripping power lines.


  • 9a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sept. 29
  • Crews will be just south of the 260, near Rim Rd, halfway between Payson and Heber.  *Erica Roelfs will confirm specific meeting spot for media planning to attend. 
  • SRP utility foresters are available for interview


In order to provide reliable power, SRP identifies trees and other vegetation that pose a risk to its power system. For the Forest 500, SRP hires contractors who help strategically remove plants, parts of trees and other vegetation growing close to transmission lines. The effort is done in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management as well as state and private land between the forests where brush must be cleared.

During wildfire season, if tall vegetation is not removed, low vegetation can ignite the taller vegetation, forming fuel ladders that bring flames closer to the taller trees and to overhead power lines. SRP's first heavy clearing effort occurred in 1996/1997 and was deemed a “reclaiming of the Right of Way (ROW).” From that time forward, SRP has been performing the clearing every five years which improves the health of the forest as well as power reliability in the Valley.

SRP also conducts vegetation management activities in residential areas as part of its Right Tree Right Place program. The program removes trees threatening safety and power reliability in cities across the Valley. For each tree removed under the Right Tree Right Place program, SRP plants three or more trees in safer, more appropriate areas. 

About SRP

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.