OAKHURST — Helicopters will be buzzing area skies later this week when PG&E conducts a PSPS (Public Safety Power Shutoff) exercise above the Highway 41 corridor between Oakhurst and Coarsegold.
PG&E will be conducting aerial inspections of its power lines during the one-day exercise, which will take place throughout the day on Friday, July 17.
PG&E officials emphasized that power will not be shut off during the exercises.
PG&E first employed the power blackouts in October 2019 in order to reduce the risks of devastating wildfires caused by its power lines or aging equipment.
During the aerial inspection exercise, the utility will be using the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds as a landing site.
“High temperatures, extreme dryness and record-high winds have created conditions in our state where any spark at the wrong time and place can lead to a major wildfire,” PG&E states on its website. “[When] severe weather threatens a portion of the electric system, it may be necessary for PG&E to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff.”
In October 2019, parts of the mountain area experienced a multi-day PSPS event.