Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in California has purchased two heavy-lift helicopters as part of its new Community Wildfire Safety Program. The new helicopters will assist the company in its day-to-day work in remote and heard-to-reach places.
Although the primary task of the Sikorsky UH-60s is to support utility work, they will also be available for first responder use in the event of a wildfire. PG&E plans to add two more heavy-lift helicopters in 2019.
Earlier this year, PG&E launched its Community Wildfire Safety Program to reduce the risk of wildfires and respond more quickly. A Wildfire Safety Operations Center was established to monitor potential fire threats, and 50 weather stations were added to better predict where a wildfire could occur. In addition, the utility alerted more than 570,000 homes and business in extreme-fire-threat areas that PG&E may have to shut off power for if extreme fire danger conditions occur.