Sunday, May 28, 2023

Helicopters Above Mendocino County Today are Both Cannabis Enforcement Operations and PG&E Inspections

[All videos and photographs provided Raschelle Hoyt]

Talk of helicopters in the sky has been circulating Mendocino County social media since this morning. Residents have reported seeing them above Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Brooktrails, and Willits. After reaching out to officials, it has been confirmed that the skies are busy with both cannabis enforcement operations and PG&E inspections.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten confirmed that MCSO, in collaboration with the California National Guard is “gathering intelligence for marijuana enforcement.” 

Captain Van Patten told us MCSO is utilizing helicopters from both the National Guard and “some are contracted helicopter businesses.”

“So if people are growing unlawfully they should be concerned especially if these helicopters are overflying their neighborhood,” Captain Van Patten said.

PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras told us that, “due to the drought-intensified conditions including extremely dry fuel conditions and the receptivity of those fuels to ignite and spread quickly, even without major winds,” the company will be conducting patrols in high fire-threat areas starting this week.” 

She said that “PG&E is flying helicopters along these lines in Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, and in the Ukiah area through Saturday. To help the public identify the helicopters, Contreras told us, “The flights are coming and going from the Ukiah airport and the tail numbers vary. I believe yesterday’s helicopter had a “tail number” of 174EM.” 

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A reminder to readers: if you are ever curious about a craft in the air, go to FlightRadar24.com or download the app to get a real-time view of the skies of any geographic area.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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