Ongoing hazards from trees affected by drought
Preventing wildfires, injuries and property damage
In and around California foothill communities, drought-impacted trees continue to die by the thousands from bark beetle.
Tree mortality rates in the southern and central Sierra Nevada have reached 100 percent in some areas. This tree mortality continues throughout other parts of California and as far north as Shasta County.
Compromised trees are a hazard to people and property. They can fall on power lines and homes without warning and cause injuries, property damage, power outages and wildfires. As a result, PG&E continues the work we began in 2014, conducting multiple tree inspections and removals in affected areas.
What we're doing to keep you safe
PG&E is out in force in the Sierra inspecting and cutting down dead and dying trees to prevent them from falling into power lines, potentially causing wildfires or power outages.
- We cut down dead trees near our powerlines at no cost to customers
- Free wood management may be available to qualifying properties
- We try to contact customers in person and with letters, door hangers and phone calls
- Implementing new California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Fire Safety Regulations and vegetation clearances
- If you have questions regarding potential tree work on your property, call 1-800-743-5000
Wood Management Program
This service is available at no cost to qualified customers. Customers must reside in counties that have declared tree mortality emergencies, following the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration to address drought conditions and bark beetle infestations.
Does your wood qualify?
You’re eligible to participate if both of the following apply:
- Wood is located on property within one of the qualifying counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tulare or Tuolumne
- Wood is from trees recently cut down by our contractors.
How to participate
How to participate
Schedule a site review
An inspector will contact you to schedule a site review to determine if you qualify.
Learn whether you qualify
You will be informed if you are qualified for the Wood Management Program.
NOTE: This program is a special addition to our existing Vegetation Management Program and is only available for drought tree mortality work
For your continued safety
For your continued safety
Report dead, dying or diseased trees near power lines
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.
Request a free, temporary service disconnection
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.
Mind the lines: know what's overhead
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.
Be aware of power line locations
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).
PG&E's 2014 drought response
Following the State of Emergency Proclamation, declared in 2014 by Governor Brown, and a California Public Utilities 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 was to protect life and property at risk from wildfires while also preventing electrical outages.
PG&E’s 2015 drought response
In 2015, Governor Brown declared a Tree Mortality State of Emergency, following four years of drought resulting in over 22 million dead trees. We contributed an additional $2 million, continuing our work of reducing drought impacts and tree mortality due to bark beetle infestation.
- Increased inspections in fire prone areas—identifying and working on 20,000 dead, dying and diseased trees along 44,000 miles of line
- Expanded CAL FIRE response efforts to fires with additional funding for aerial patrols and remote fire detection cameras
- Extension of CAL FIRE's public safety campaign to help increase education on vital fire safety and bark beetle infestation
- Use of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) imagery to detect hazardous and dying trees
PG&E's 2016 drought response
In 2016, drought conditions intensified and the bark beetle infestation took hold, killing nearly 66 million trees. PG&E continued our partnership with CAL FIRE and local Fire Safe Councils, providing funds to continue preventive fire safety work to help prevent wildfires in local communities.
PG&E’s other drought work included:
- Cut down 225,000 dead and dying trees
- Worked year-round to manage the effects of the drought and the increasing fire risk
- Managed over 1.2 million trees on two million properties in our 70,000 square-mile service area
- Inspected 81,000 miles of distribution line with redundant patrols to identify and remove dead or dying trees in high-risk fire areas
- Used emerging aerial LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) imagery patrol technologies to proactively detect hazardous trees near lines
- Extended CAL FIRE's public safety campaign to help increase education about vital fire safety measures and the bark beetle infestation
- Expanded the dead tree debris and debris management program (now Wood Management Program) for qualifying customers in the counties of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tulare and Tuolumne
PG&E’s 2017 DROUGHT RESPONSE
In December 2017, the US Forest Service reported a new total of 129 million dead trees, due to drought and bark beetle infestation.
PG&E’s drought-response efforts included:
- Inspected 81,000 miles of distribution line.
- Increased foot and aerial patrols along power lines in high fire-risk areas to twice a year and up to four times a year in some locations.
- Removed 156,000 dead trees, in addition to our routine maintenance program that prunes or removes about 1.4 million trees annually.
- Since 2014, provided $11.4 million to local Fire Safe Councils (FSCs) for fuel reduction projects in communities. Will provide an additional $2 million to local FSCs in 2018.
- Conducted daily aerial fire detection patrols during high-fire season to improve the spotting and speed of fire response.
- Actively participating on the Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force.
The total number of dead trees in California since 2010 stands at 102 million on 7.7 million acres of the state’s forests, according to the U.S. Forest Service (Nov.18, 2016).
In 2016 alone, 66 million trees died, representing a 100 percent increase in dead trees in the state from 2015.
Learn about the history of the tree mortality epidemic and solutions for affected landowners.
Learn about tree and plant selection—and the right places to plant.
Learn more about the Wood Management Program.