PLACER COUNTY, Calif. July 17, 2017 – As part of its response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in Placer and Nevada counties on Tuesday, July 18; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 25, 26 and 27; and Tuesday, August 1, to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk.
“Even with the recent winter storms, five years of drought in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised. That’s why we are taking extraordinary measures to help keep the communities we serve safe,” said Kamran Rasheed, manager, PG&E vegetation management.
Every year, PG&E patrols and inspects all 125,000 miles of its overhead electric lines. Since the tree mortality crisis began, the energy company has been inspecting trees along power lines in high fire-danger areas a second time, six months after its annual patrol because weakened trees can die quickly. Last year, PG&E conducted second patrols on 68,000 miles of power line, and in 2017, expects to patrol 73,000 miles of line a second time. The company will patrol about 10,750 of those miles by helicopter.
Flights will occur in the communities of Lake of the Pines, Rock Mountain, Higgins Corner, Wolf, Alta Sierra, Bridgeport, Lake Wildwood, Rough and Ready, Bitney Corner, Lake Englebright, Pilot Hill, Jayhowk, Gold Hill, Rescue, Skinners, and on BLM, United States Forest Service and state parks land. Depending on clear weather conditions, flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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 – about 200 to 300 feet – along distribution power lines, and higher in areas where livestock are present.
If patrols identify dead trees, PG&E will send inspectors on foot to verify a tree is dead, and then contact the home or land owner to schedule removal.