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Fire Department/Emergency Preparedness

Posted on: September 21, 2022

PG&E Surveying Powerlines by Helicopters to Keep Customers Safe

PGE Surveyor Helicopter image

PGE Surveyor Helicopter image

Through the end of October, PG&E crews will survey electrical equipment, and the nearby vegetation, in 25 counties throughout Northern and Central California to spot and prevent potential wildfire risk. Helicopters equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors and high-resolution imagery technology will evaluate PG&E powerlines and adjacent trees.

A surveyor in the helicopter will collect the data on PG&E’s powerlines, poles, and the surrounding trees and brush located along distribution circuits within or adjacent to extreme (Tier 3) and elevated (Tier 2) wildfire risk areas defined by the California Public Utilities Commission High Fire-Threat District Map). This data is used to create a 3-D simulation of our facilities. 

Two helicopters equipped with the LiDAR and high-resolution imagery technology will conduct surveys along distribution powerlines Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and  5 p.m. each weekday. Helicopters will be flying low, along the powerlines, at an altitude of about 500 feet, but will remain no lower than 200 feet.

Utilizing multiple methods to gather data—including patrols, physical testing of poles, ground, aerial, climbing, infrared and LiDAR—PG&E plans to complete inspections of transmission and distribution structures in extreme fire-threat areas, which includes more than 390,000 distribution poles and nearly 39,000 transmission structures.


About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and

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