A juvenile eagle flew into high-voltage power lines in the Palisades east of Calistoga on Wednesday, knocking out power briefly over a broad area of the Upvalley and knocking out Calistoga’s main emergency dispatch repeater.
Calistoga Fire Chief Steve Campbell said the eagle hit the lines shortly after noon, causing a power surge throughout the service area. It knocked down at least some power lines in St. Helena, he said.
A spokesman for PG&E did not return a phone call seeking details of the scope of the outage.
The only major damage appears to have been to the police dispatch radio, which is mounted on Calistoga’s fire house, Campbell said.
Calistoga Police Chief Jonathan Mills said the department had to rely on backup equipment for the rest of the day, but was never completely off the air and forced to fall back on the less effective car-to-car radio system. The repeater was repaired by Thursday morning.
No cost estimate is available yet for the repairs, Mills said.
The encounter with the power lines proved fatal to the eagle, Campbell said, causing the unfortunate bird to burst into flames and plummet to the ground.
The burning bird sparked a small grass fire in the hills above Palisades Road. The blaze was contained in about 30 minutes, he said.