SACRAMENTO, Calif.—As part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in El Dorado and northern Amador counties starting on Monday, Aug. 5 through Friday, Aug. 9, to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other safety risk by falling into power lines.
“Despite a rainy winter, millions of dead and dying trees fill our forests due to years of drought and bark-beetle infestation. We’ve made significant progress to help reduce wildfire risk by removing dead and dying trees and we’re not slowing down,” said Jim Monninger, senior manager of PG&E’s Sierra Division.
A Bell 407 helicopter will leave from the Placerville Airport daily Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and fly over the communities of Shingle Springs, Rescue, Lotus, Jayhawk, Fairplay, Omo Ranch, Outingdale, River Pines, Somerset, Coyoteville, Mount Aukum, Placerville, El Dorado, Diamond Springs, Kingsville, Logtown and Nashville. Flights are subject to change based on weather conditions.
PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters over the area to inspect trees. Patrolling by air allows the company to cover many miles quickly and efficiently, and to reduce impacts on the ground. Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – at about 200 to 300 feet above the ground – along distribution power lines, and higher in areas where livestock are present.
Following the helicopter patrols, ground crews will respond to locations spotted from the sky to determine an action plan for hazardous tree removal.
Every year, PG&E inspects and monitors every overhead electric transmission and distribution line, either on foot or by air, with some locations patrolled multiple times. Since the tree mortality crisis began, the energy company has increased foot and aerial patrols in high fire-risk areas to twice a year and up to four or more times a year in some locations. In 2019, PG&E expects to patrol over half of its overhead distribution lines at least two times.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy company in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com andhttp://www.pge.com/about/