Helicopter strike on power lines sparked grass fires, outage in Calistoga

CALISTOGA, Calif. (KGO) -- A helicopter inspecting power lines near Calistoga struck the lines, sparking two grass fires and knocking out power to thousands of people Thursday afternoon, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials.

Power has been restored to everyone but 17 customers in the Calistoga area.

FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor says a Bell 206-L4 helicopter was inspecting the power lines around 1:10 p.m. when is struck and severed the lines. PG&E confirms the helicopter was doing work for them.

They reportedly fell to the ground, sparking two brush fires near Highway 29 and Palisades Road.

The helicopter did not crash and was able to land nearby. FAA officials say none of the three people on board were hurt.

Around the same time of this incident, PG&E reported several large power outages in this area. One which impacted all of Calistoga cut off power to nearly 4,000 customers. The second extended all the way up to Middletown and impacted nearly 4,500 customers.

PG&E officials have not confirmed what caused those outages.

Cal Fire officials say the fires burned about 1.5 acres total and were contained relatively quickly. SKY7 captured video that shows a torched area near the power lines.

Several businesses in the area told ABC7 News that their power was knocked out but that it had been restored by 3:00 p.m.

The FAA says it is investigating the incident.
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