May 13, 2020 – As part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in Nevada and Placer counties today Wednesday, May 13, to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk.
The helicopter left from Auburn at 8 a.m. Flights will be ongoing throughout the day until 4 p.m. in the towns of Norden, Soda Springs, Troy, Kingvale, Cisco, Big Bend, Emigrant Gap, Yuba Pass, Blue Canyon and Camp Spaulding, along with the areas of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Cascade Lake, Kidd Lake, Palisade Lake and Serene Lakes.
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.