PG&E flying low to look for dead trees |

PG&E flying low to look for dead trees

As part of its response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced in a release it will conduct aerial patrols in Placer and Nevada counties on July 25, 26 and 27 and Aug. 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,” said Kamran Rasheed, manager, PG&E vegetation management. “That’s why we are taking extraordinary measures to help keep the communities we serve safe.”

Every year, PG&E patrols and inspects all 125,000 miles of its overhead electric lines, according to the release. 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 said it 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 plans to patrol about 10,750 of those miles by helicopter.

Flights are scheduled 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 said it’s using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters over the area to inspect trees. The release 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.

Source: Pacific Gas & Electric

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