MENDOCINO Co., 7/29/19 — PG&E will be flying contracted helicopters over the next few months around the North Coast. The helicopters began flying in Lake County on July 22 and are currently flying around Mendocino County, and then will be in Humboldt next month.
PG&E generally rents Bell 206 LongRanger from NorCal helicopter rental firms (you can see some photos of different helicopters sometimes spotted in Mendocino at the end of this article). They will be flying between 300 and 500 feet and will be using LIDAR as part of their vegetation management efforts, trying to identify trees or other vegetation that may fall into power lines. If you are signed up for notifications with PG&E, you may get an automated alert of these flights. (We also recommend setting up alerts for planned power shutdowns and other outages).
Here’s the full announcement from PG&E below:
PG&E to Conduct Power Line Inspections byHelicopter Along North Coast
UKIAH, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will continue to inspect power lines in Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties for the next couple of weeks, using helicopters equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. The inspections are part of PG&E’s expanded and enhanced vegetation management work, implemented following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires as one of many additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire risk.
In addition to ground inspections, the LiDAR helicopter inspections will help gather data to allow PG&E to identify hazardous trees that have the potential to fall into the lines. These inspections will take place across the approximately 25,200 miles of distribution lines in locations that have been designated as at elevated or extreme risk of wildfire based on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District Map. The data gathered will supplement PG&E’s ground inspections by capturing imagery that can be analyzed to take measurements, reveal patterns and identify any potential risks.
Helicopters will be flying along the power lines at an altitude of about 300 to 500 feet. PG&E will be making automated phone calls to notify residents ahead of the scheduled helicopter flight in their community. Flights will continue through mid-August.
For more information on the helicopter inspections, residents can visit pge.com/enhancedveg or email PG&E at [email protected] with questions about this work.
Community Wildfire Safety Program
PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program involves increasing real-time monitoring and intelligence capabilities, putting in place new and enhanced safety measures, and strengthening the resiliency of the electric grid to further reduce wildfire threats. More information can be found atpge.com/wildfiresafety.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary ofPG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visitwww.pge.com and pge.com/news.
Caption: Photo of a helicopter equipped with LiDAR technology in Concord’s Buchanan Field.