Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is conducting aerial patrols in areas of Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Scheduled helicopter patrols are part of the company’s Vegetation Management Program to detect dead or dying trees that could pose a wildfire risk.
Patrols, which began Monday, will occur along several electric distribution lines located in the vicinity of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Watsonville.
Depending on the weather conditions, foresters will fly from the San Martin Airport to the distribution lines and back for refueling. Flights may be as low as 300 feet and could be between the hours of 8am and 4pm. Notifications have been sent to customers in the area.
Flights are expected to conclude by end of day on Thursday; however, weather delays may push flights to additional days.
Helicopters may reach higher elevations in areas where livestock are present. If determined necessary by a spotter from the helicopters, PG&E will send ground crews to conduct further inspections.
PG&E is using helicopters to inspect the trees along distribution lines within High Fire-Threat Districts, as outlined by the California Public Utilities Commission, across Northern and Central California through the end of the year.