MENDOCINO Co., 8/5/21 — Readers have reported helicopter sightings today in Brooktrails, Willits, (including Williams Ranch/Muir Mill), Redwood Valley and Potter Valley as well as the Upper Lakes and Blue Lake areas. Here’s what we know so far:
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET) is working with the Air National Guard to identify illegal growing operations for followup. MCSO spokesman Capt. Greg van Patten said, “This intelligence will help with future enforcement actions on those identified unlawful growing sites.”
Pacific Gas and Electric is also flying helicopters in Ukiah, Potter Valley and Redwood Valley in an effort to mitigate the risk of wildfires, according to utility spokesperson Deanna Contreras.
“Due to the drought-intensified conditions including extremely dry fuel conditions and the receptivity of those fuels to ignite and spread quickly, even without major winds, PG&E is taking additional steps to further mitigate the potential for equipment-sparked wildfires,” Contreras said.
“The flights are coming and going from the Ukiah airport and the tail numbers vary,” she added. “I believe yesterday’s helicopter had a ‘tail number’ of 174EM.”
Readers interested in finding out more can track aircraft by tail number at www.flightradar24.com. Not all flights can be tracked through this platform, however.