Wooden power poles are at fire risk from leaked current. Current leakage occurs when the the insulator degrades due to salt spray, pollution and dry weather conditions. As current leaks in can generate enough heat to ignite the wood power pole. This is a particular problem at points on the pole where wood and metal meet.
There are 8.5 million wooden power poles in Australia, and 70% of them are over 35-years-old, which increases the risk of fire from deteriorating insulation.
Researchers are recommending shorter inspection cycles for wooden power poles.