PG&E starting daily aerial wildfire patrols

A PG&E airplane sits outside of a hangar before taking off to patrol for wildfires from the skies.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) planes recently started patrolling for wildfires across thousands of miles of the company’s service area, according to a July 2 press release.

The idea is to give first responders the window of time necessary to quickly contain wildfires before they get out of control.

Launched in 2014 amid a severe statewide drought, the daily aerial patrols have assisted the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and local fire agencies with early fire detection and response in past years, the release states. Totaling more than 5,200 flight hours, PG&E aircraft identified a total of 209 fires last year, 10 of which were first reports.

The patrols began on June 1 and will run until Oct. 31 or later, depending upon conditions. Seven planes will fly daily routes from late afternoon until dusk, one of which passes through Calaveras County on its way from Auburn to Sonora.

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