Relief for felled trees is on the way

Help is on the way for homeowners surrounded by felled trees, as PG&E has signed a contract to have the trees removed.
Help is on the way for homeowners surrounded by felled trees, as PG&E has signed a contract to have the trees removed. Sierra Star

Pacific Gas & Electric Company has signed a multi-million dollar contract with Phillips & Jordan to remove about 160,000 dead trees that were cut down to protect power lines on private property in 10 Central California counties.

The massive multi-year undertaking is expected to get underway next week in Madera, Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado and Placer counties.

“Nothing is more important to PG&E than public safety,” said Eric Back, director of electric asset management, compliance and risk management for PG&E. “That’s why we are removing dead and dying trees near our power lines to reduce wildfire risk. The high volume of limbs and trunks on the ground are a fire hazard and impact a homeowner’s ability to use their property. This new program will help our customers stay safe and enjoy their natural surroundings.”

The expanded debris management program is available to customers with dead or dying trees impacted by drought and/or bark beetle infestation that could contact PG&E electric facilities, including power lines in the 10 counties listed above. The utility only will dispose of debris that it takes down. The debris must be reasonably accessible by equipment/machinery, and debris must be within 100 feet of permanent structures or within 20 feet of serviceable roadways.

Phillips & Jordan is a 64-year-old company that specializes in disaster response, with headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, and additional offices across the country including San Diego.

The company has done work in 50 states and employs a workforce of about 1,000.

According to the company’s website, Phillips & Jordan pursues challenging projects that involve complex problems, difficult condition, and aggressive schedules.

Following the devastating fires that impacted Southern California in 2003, San Diego County developed 29 individual tree removal projects that covered 20,000 acres, of which 17 were awarded to Phillips & Jordan.

Over the course of five years, Phillips & Jordan cut and removed an average of 625 trees per day within 17,000 acres.

At the completion of the effort in San Diego County, Phillips & Jordan had cleared, reduced, and removed more than 280,000 trees by the 12 crews that were employed by the company.

During large scale clean-up operations, the company in the past has used cranes, multi-terrain tractors, chippers and grinders, heavy lift helicopters, track and rubber-tire skidders, bucket trucks, and a variety of hauling and transport trucks.

In addition to the San Diego job, the company also helped with the clean-up of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, floods in Colorado, and tornadoes in Alabama. The company has been called in to help clean-up efforts following virtually every federally declared disaster in the country over the past three decades.

NOTE: PG&E customers who are interested in utilizing the expanded debris management program, should call 1-800-743-5000.