Four years of drought conditions have caused many trees in our communities to die or become extremely unhealthy. Lack of water has weakened them, making them susceptible to disease and infestations of harmful insects such as bark beetles. These compromised trees are a hazard to people and property since they can fall on power lines and homes without warning and cause injuries, property damage, power outages and wildfires.
To prevent such incidents, we have are continuing increased tree inspections as well as tree pruning and removal. We are also asking you to help by inspecting trees on your property and throughout your community.
As record drought conditions intensify the millions of dying trees and bark beetle infestation across California, we are continuing to partner with CAL FIRE and local Safety Councils providing funds to help prevent wildfires within your community.
Our drought work to reduce the potential for wildfire includes:
An expanded debris and wood management is now available for qualifying customers in the following counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Placer, Tulare and Tuolumne. In all other counties PG&E will consider wood and debris management on a case-by-case basis.
Some signs of a dead, dying or diseased tree are bare branches, brown leaves or needles, a cracked or leaning trunk and trails of fine sawdust near the tree base indicating an insect attack. If you identify such a tree and it is close to a power line, don't attempt to remove or prune it. Please stay away and call us at 1-800-743-5000.
If you notice tension on your service drop (line to home or business), please call us at 1-800-743-5000 to ask for a free, short term disconnection. This will allow you to prune without the risk of electrical contact.
While primary lines carry the highest voltage, secondary lines and service drops carry enough voltage to cause injury or death. When performing tree pruning or vegetation removal, always look up first and stay clear of all power lines. Learn more about Electric Safety.
Find out more about clearing vegetation to create defensible space around your home. Visit readyforwildfire.org.
Pruning trees next to high voltage power lines is extremely dangerous. Only people who receive special training are permitted to work within 10 feet of lines according to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA).
Following the State of Emergency Proclamation, declared in 2014 by Governor Brown, and a California Public Utility Commission Resolution to take remedial measures to reduce the likelihood of fires, PG&E contributed approximately $7.7 million toward community-based fire risk reduction with CAL FIRE and Fire Safe Councils to help ensure the public's safety.
Our drought response goal is to protect life and property at risk from wildfires while also preventing electrical outages.
In 2015, we contributed an additional $2 million continuing our work of reducing drought impacts and tree mortality due to bark beetle infestation. Our 2015 work included:
The prolonged and severe drought has produced tens of millions of dead trees in California. The effects of the drought will continue even with the normal rainfall in 2016 and beyond. Visit pge.com/treesanddrought.