As part of its ongoing response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in eastern Shasta and western Lassen counties on Monday, May 6 and Monday, May 13 to identify dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other safety risk.
“Five years of drought and bark beetle infestation in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised. We’ve made significant progress to help reduce wildfire risk by removing dead and dying trees and we’re not slowing down. We will continue this critical safety work in 2019,” Carl Schoenhofer, senior manager of PG&E’s North Valley Division.
Flights on May 6 will occur over and near the eastern Shasta County communities of Fall River Mills, Glenburn and west of McArthur. Flights on May 13 will occur over and near McArthur and over and near the western Lassen County communities of Bieber and Nubieber.
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 to reduce 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 or more times a year in some locations. In 2019, PG&E expects to patrol over half of its overhead distribution lines at least two times.
Depending on clear weather conditions, flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.