WILLITS, 1/27/18 — Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has been cutting down what they call “hazard trees” in areas affected by the recent fire for a couple months now. This week they announced that they had cut down more than 30,000 trees, of which 4,100 were in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
The recent devastating fires on the North Coast were among the most costly and deadly in California history. And at least in Mendocino County it is highly likely that the immediate cause was from trees sparking against PG&E power-lines. In the wake of the fires multiple lawsuits have been filed against PG&E claiming that the company failed to take precautions that would prevented tens of deaths and billions in damages — including cutting back trees before hand and burying power-lines in fire prone areas.
These lawsuits have PG&E on the hook for potentially billions of dollars.
But since the fires swept through North Coast communities PG&E has been cutting down large numbers of burned out snags and trees damaged enough by the fire to pose a hazard. They have hauled away much of the wood in Sonoma and Napa and will begin to do so in Mendocino in the next few weeks.
PG&E customers can opt in to this “Wildfire Wood Management Program” by calling 1-800-743-5000.
Here is the press release from PG&E with more details:
“UKIAH, Calif.—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has pruned or cut down more than 30,000 hazard trees in fire-impacted communities in Northern California to reduce wildfire and public safety risk. Approximately 4,100 of those trees are in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The company will haul away larger wood that it has cut down near its power lines in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties at no cost to property owners. If the wood qualifies, customers must request the wood removal service. The opt-in program ends February 28.
“We are committed to helping our customers recover from the devastating wildfires last fall. We’re offering this wood removal service to reduce wildfire risk created by hazard trees piling up, and to help ensure that customers can safely enjoy their property,” said Carl Schoenhofer, senior manager of PG&E’s Humboldt Division, which includes Mendocino and Lake Counties.
PG&E has completed about 96 percent of the work to cut down hazard trees near its power lines in wildfire-impacted communities to help ensure public safety and protect its electric and gas infrastructure. Work to haul away the larger wood began several weeks ago in Napa and Sonoma counties, and will begin in Mendocino County later this month.
Wildfire Wood Management Program
Customers who would like to opt-in to the Wildfire Wood Management Program can call 1-800-743-5000. The program closes on February 28, 2018. In order to qualify, the wood to be removed must be:
- Easily accessible by equipment or machinery,
- Larger than four inches in diameter and six feet in length, and
- Within 50 feet of a permanent structure or have the ability to impede traffic or roll into roads, road drainage structures or watercourses.
Wood and debris that is less than four inches in diameter does not qualify for this program. As with its normal practice, PG&E will clean up debris it cuts either by chipping or lopping and spreading according to forestry industry best practices.
PG&E contractors will haul away and dispose of the wood. The wood being removed from fire-impacted areas is generally not commercially viable. PG&E’s contractors will determine any potential end-uses.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.“