SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California is ordering utility companies to do more to keep power lines from sparking devastating wildfires.

The state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday toughened its rules requiring power companies to keep trees and brush away from power lines in areas at higher risk of fires. Utilities also would have to step up patrols to look for fire risks and speed repairs.

READ MORE: Support for Windsor Mayor Crumbles as Details of Alleged Sexual Misconduct Emerge

Commission President Michael Picker calls the new orders a “major rewrite” of existing fire prevention rules for utilities. Picker says the changes acknowledge how dramatically climate change is raising wildfire risks in much of the state.

READ MORE: Hundreds at Bay Area Rallies March to Support Asian Americans

The board’s unanimous action comes as firefighters in Southern California battle some of the largest wildfires in state history, including some that witnesses have linked to sparks from wind-whipped power lines.

MORE NEWS: Former Sebastopol Mayor Arrested on Suspicion of Sexual Assault Against a Minor

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.