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In response to the drought, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is patrolling by helicopter to check for drought-stricken trees near power lines. Flights will occur in remote areas of Shasta and Tehama Counties on Tuesday, September 13 and in Shasta and Lassen counties on Wednesday, September 14.

Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – about 200 to 300 feet – along distribution power lines.

On Tuesday, flights will occur west of Cottonwood near Gas Point, Bowman and Hooker Creek roads as well as areas east of Cottonwood along the Sacramento River.

On Wednesday, flights will occur in eastern Shasta County near the communities of Fall River Mills and McArthur and in the Lassen County communities of Nubieber, Bieber and Little Valley.

PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters to check for trees weakened by the drought. This patrol is in addition to the annual patrols PG&E does along power lines to identify trees and vegetation in need of pruning and removal. Weakened trees and branches can fall into power lines, leading to outages and even wild land fires.

The drought has weakened and killed many trees and left others susceptible to disease or insects.  After the flights, foresters will hike to the trees in question for an up close inspection to verify tree conditions.  Once a forester confirms a tree needs to be removed, PG&E will work with the property owner to schedule a contractor to cut the tree.

Consecutive years of drought have taken a toll on trees and even some trees deemed healthy six months ago have since succumbed to the dry conditions.

Weather permitting, all flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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