PG&E Flying Aerial Patrols Friday Over Willow Creek, Burnt Ranch, Hawkins Bar, Salyer

blue and white helicopter

PG&E helicopter flying low over Southern Humboldt earlier last month. [Photo by Mark Carey]

Press release from PG&E:

Tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 7, PG&E will be conducting aerial patrols of power lines in Sonoma, Lake and Humboldt counties. Flights will begin around 8 a.m.

The flights are part of a company-wide Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) preparedness exercise PG&E is conducting with county partners. No power shutoffs will happen, but PG&E’s emergency response organization is conducting the readiness drill to help the company be better prepared for actual events.

As part of the exercise PG&E crews are patrolling circuits that could be affected if a PSPS becomes necessary this fall. The patrols will be conducted by crews on the ground, and by using helicopters. Customers may notice increased activity between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday in the following areas:

  • Sonoma County: Cloverdale, Geyserville, Sebastopol, Bodega, Graton, Occidental, Sebastopol, Valley Ford.
  • Lake County: Clearlake, Hidden Valley Lake, Lower Lake.
  • Humboldt County: Willow Creek, Burnt Ranch, Hawkins Bar, Salyer.

Given the continued and growing threat of severe weather and wildfires, PG&E is expanding and enhancing its Community Wildfire Safety Program to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep customers and the communities safe.

During an actual PSPS event, crews will inspect de-energized lines utilizing aircraft, vehicles and foot patrols to identify and repair damage before restoring power.

The sole purpose of a PSPS is to reduce the risk of major wildfires during severe weather.  With more than half of the area where our customers live and work now at high risk for wildfires, PSPS is an important tool for keeping customers and communities safe.

Turning off power can prevent wildfires, but also disrupts lives and can include its own risks, particularly for those who need power for medical equipment.  That’s why PG&E’s goal this year is to reduce the number of customers affected by potential PSPS events by nearly one-third compared to a similar weather event last year and restore power within 12 daylight hours after the severe weather has passed

For more information about preparing for a PSPS event or any natural disaster, visit PG&E’s Safety Action Center.

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