Threatening county roads and infrastructure
AUBURN, Calif. – Placer County has removed 5,200 trees threatening county infrastructure, marking the completion of its hazardous tree removal project.
In 2015, then Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a state of emergency due to the extreme hazard of dead and dying trees throughout the state resulting from years of drought and bark beetle damage. Placer County was among the 10 counties most affected.
In response, the Board of Supervisors approved the Hazardous Tree Removal Plan, which outlined the steps needed to address the identification and removal of drought-related hazardous trees that threaten county roads and infrastructure. Under the proclamation of a state of emergency, the governor authorized California Disaster Assistance Act funds to support those most-impacted counties by reimbursing up to 75% of costs to remove eligible hazardous trees under the county’s plan.
Dead trees falling into county roadways pose a high risk to motorists. They could also inhibit emergency response and evacuations.
“The unhealthy condition of trees in California forests and along our roadways is one of the most compelling problems facing us,” said Placer County Board of Supervisors Chair Robert Weygandt. “It sets the stage for pine bark beetle infestations, the focus of this program. Ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is our continuous goal. I’m very proud of the work we have done.”
Placer County is responsible for over 1,000 miles of public roadway. Aerial and ground surveys documented dead and dying trees within Placer County due to the drought. They found the trees that could affect county infrastructure, making most of the cost of removing them eligible for reimbursement by the state. Of the trees that were identified, 5,200 were authorized to be removed.
The tree removal program was a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional effort. Partners from state and federal agencies, such as Caltrans, CAL FIRE, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, as well as private landowners, worked together to identify hazardous trees and get them removed.
While this program is now complete, many other agencies are also removing dead trees in Placer County, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Liberty Utilities, Caltrans and CAL FIRE. Hazardous trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to remove, but assistance may be available through the Placer County Resource Conservation District and county’s Fire Safe Alliance, depending on funding availability.