As part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in Amador and San Joaquin counties on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14 and 15, to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk.
The helicopter will be leaving from Westover Field in Sutter Creek at 8 a.m. Flights will be ongoing throughout the day until 4 p.m. in the areas of Ione, Carbondale, Plymouth, Dry Town, Amador City, Sutter Creek, Martell, Jackson, Buena Vista, Camanche Village, Clements and Lockeford.
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 reduces 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.
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 times a year in some locations. This year, PG&E expects to patrol over half of its overhead distribution lines at least two times.