FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --PG&E crews are fanned out across the region racing to remove over grown branches away from power lines ahead of this weekend's forecasted storm.
"It's got strong winds, heavy rain, potential for thunderstorms-- all those can lead to tree related outages," said Denny Boyles, PG&E.
According to Boyles, the PG&E has increased patrols this week to cut down on the number of tree related power outages. Crews are specially looking for tall palm trees and the potential hazard they can cause near power lines.
"They're just not compatible near power lines; you can't prune them in a way that will prevent them from growing into power lines. And even if it's a properly pruned tree away from the lines, if it's not being maintained with the dead fronds they can come off in a wind storm and cause power outages which is something we saw last week," said Boyles.
Last week's storm carried winds strong enough to take down a tree and caused several transformers to blow throughout the Fresno-Clovis area; 26,000 customers were left without power Thursday and Friday as a result.
"If you do experience a power outage-- give us a call. One of the advantages of the smart meter it'll send us a signal if you experience a power outage, but it's also okay to give us a call to let us know the power is out in your area," said Boyles.
While crews work to remove tree limbs on the Valley floor, PG&E is also focusing much of its attention on foothill communities and areas hit hard by the bark beetle.
"We're doing quite a bit of work, we're patrolling constantly and we have a new program-- a Debris Management Program-- where cases, if it meets criteria, we'll remove the debris from customers property just to reduce the fire load or fire risk as we come into fire season again," said Boyles.
PG&E said to give them a call if you see overgrown trees near power lines in your neighborhood and never attempt to trim the trees yourself.