PG&E helicopter to search for Shasta County drought-stricken trees on April 12 in Whitmore, Shingletown

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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 the North State from April 12 to 14.

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

Tuesday’s flights will occur in Shasta County near Whitmore, Shingletown, Blue Mountain, Lookout Mountain and Sugar Pine Mountain.

On Wednesday and Thursday flights will occur in the Butte County communities of Concow, Yankee Hill and east of Oroville, and along the Highway 70 corridor in western Plumas County.

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.