[UPDATE 3 p.m.] PG&E Helicopter Flying Willow Creek Today and Tomorrow

Today and tomorrow, a PG&E helicopter (blue and white) will be flying power lines in the Willow Creek area from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. looking for dead trees that could be a potential risk for falling or for catching fire and endangering the energy system

Even with the recent winter storms, five years of drought in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised. That’s why we are taking extraordinary measures to help keep the communities we serve safe,” said Kamran Rasheed, manager, PG&E vegetation management.

The flight could be about two to three hundred feet off the ground as crews attempt to get an idea of what could impact the lines, explained Deanna Contreras, a PG&E spokesperson.
UPDATE 3 p.m.: Press release from PG&E

As part of its response to California’s tree mortality crisis, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will conduct aerial patrols in Humboldt County on Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 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. That’s why we are taking extraordinary measures to help keep the communities we serve safe,” said Kamran Rasheed, manager, PG&E vegetation management.

Every year, PG&E patrols and inspects all of its overhead electric lines. 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 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 will patrol 10,750 of those miles by helicopter.

Depending on clear weather conditions, the helicopter will leave the Arcata-Eureka Airport and fly between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

During the flight on May 31, the surveyor will inspect trees along Highways 299 and 96 and fly over the towns of Willow Creek, Trinity Village and Hoopa and over the communities of Burnt Ranch, Sayler and Hawkins Bar. The flight path also includes over Six Rivers National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest.

During the flight on June 1, the surveyor will inspect trees along Highway 1 over the Eel River Wildlife area and over the towns of Eureka and Fortuna and the communities of Loleta, Myrtletown, Freshwater, Fernbridge, Hookton and Humboldt Hill.

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 reduces impacts on the ground. Residents are 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.

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12 comments

    • Apparently, you weren’t one of the worried neighbors?

    • Michelle Steele

      MUGGIN Why would you say this to kym when she is only doing her job to inform and keep the publics safety in mind.. Would you really be saying this if tree’s were threatening your Home? I think not.. Trolls anyway who needs them? Or are you one of the pissed off growers of Humboldt? Just Asking is all….

      • My apologies. Didn’t mean to be rude. Just sick and tired of the pandering to drug dealers of which I have no respect for. Was a little too quick on trigger this morning I guess. My bad if it’s about people worried that a tree might fall on their house.

        I lump the helicopter warnings in with the announcements broadcasted every time a few LEO vehicles are seen driving down the highway together. I feel like those that freak out every time a helicopter flies over their head or a few cops drive down their road are doing so because they know they’re doing something wrong and therefore don’t deserve sympathy, they deserve to be busted just like everyone else that breaks any other law. To me these helicopter and convoy notices are nothing more than “Hey criminals! Here comes the cops! Hurry up and hide!” At best this is unethical and irresponsible journalism, more likely it falls along the lines of aiding and abetting the commission of a crime and obstructing justice.

        • For heaven’s sakes, when I report that law enforcement is at a home serving a search warrant, my guess is that you want to know what they are doing. Certainly, most people do. When I post that there is a convoy headed out Briceland Road, I’m doing the same thing–reporting on what is happening. If it was aiding and abetting, why wouldn’t law enforcement tell me to stop or not answer my questions later? They don’t tell me to stop and they do answer my questions because it is public knowledge when they are in a public area and the public is entitled to know. That is the law. You sound like someone who respects the law so respect that one. [Edit: That came out snippier sounding than I intended. Sorry. I just meant that it is important to value that law also.]

          As to aiding and abetting…in my entire life of living in SoHum–55 years, I have never yet heard a grower say, “Whew, thanks to the news about the coming convoy on KMUD or Kym’s site, I was able to pick up my 100 plants and flee safely to the woods.” It’s not like other illegal behaviors. You own the land and the cannabis is growing on it so you are responsible whether you are there or not. A heads up wouldn’t let you escape law enforcement.

          • Seems to me like the vast majority of busts that have taken place over the years occur when nobody is around and no arrests are made. They just come in, chop down the plants, and the grower goes on to start back up again. There are exceptions, of course, but way more often than not the land owners are not held accountable for it. The growers may not “pick up their plants and flee” but when they get a heads up they do leave the scene because they know that they probably won’t be arrested if they’re not there. It’s true that the presence of cops in a public place is public knowledge but let’s be honest about why you make a point to report that some cops are driving down the road before a bust has taken place. If it’s not intended to be a warning to those conducting illegal activity in the area we all know that it most certainly serves as one. Have you really never heard of a grower taking off and avoiding arrest after being warned that a convoy is headed their way? I’d find that hard to believe and also amusing that you specify “pick up their plants” as if it were the only option.

            • I absolutely have not heard of a grower fleeing law enforcement because of my post about a convoy. And you’d think if it happened at least one of them would thank me. I do have folks thank me for doing the posts. I think some of them feel like it is a warning but I have never had one single case of someone saying “Because of your post I was able to escape.”

              Let me tell you what happens when I get a convoy tip. Usually, it is something like “There are 6 sheriff cars and a chipper heading south from Fortuna on 101. I have to verify it. That means two eye witnesses. Then I have to post the information which takes twenty minutes minimum. Then someone has to look at it and say, “Wow, I live in [fill in the blank–Shelter Cove, Alderpoint, Petrolia, Blocksburg] and I just know out of all the places that law enforcement is going to choose to go today from Hwy 101 they are going to pick my home.” Now, growers are optimists as a whole or they wouldn’t be doing this. They just keep checking in. It takes me at least a half an hour from tip time to verify to post and longer than that for the tipster to get the info to me and for the grower to read the post–let’s say an hour. So let’s say I update saying that law enforcement is now on Dyerville Loop Road. There are hundreds of likely grows that can be reached from there. It is now an hour from the time law enforcement was spotted and the neighborhood phone trees have been working overtime. At that point, the phone trees are possibly getting out the information to the target but more likely it is the 6 vehicles driving down a remote driveway that causes the grower to run. Most hill folk know when they’ve got unusual visitors.

              • I’m inclined to think it’s either naive or disingenuous to act like convoy warnings aren’t helping people avoid them but I’m certainly no expert in backwoods criminal enterprises so I may very well be totally wrong about that. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posts and discuss the issue with me even though we disagree. I also really do appreciate much of the work that you do and hope that I haven’t rubbed you the wrong way. I believe that variety in behaviors, opinions, lifestyles, values, and such are fundamentally a good thing for society and I both respect and applaud your genuine representation of SoHum culture, whatever that may be. Thanks for being you and all that you do!

                • I’ve been accused of being naive before. I do find it frustrating but don’t worry, I have a husband and three sons…I’m perfectly able to like even love folks who frustrate me;>

  • Michelle Steele

    Thank You Kym Kemp for all you do.. You are Awsome and Doing A Great Job despite some people’s rude Attitudes. Keep up the Great Work and Have A Nice Day..

  • Thank you for the heads up, I woke up this morning to them hovering over a neighbor’s house. They were very low, I was concerned for my horses. I would say more like 50 feet above, not safe for livestock.

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