Wildfire Damage

damaged trees

damaged trees

Next year two cousins who accidently started Arizona’s largest wildfire, the Wallow Fire, will start paying restitution with monthly payments. Caleb and David Malboeuf didn’t clear the brush from around their campfire and then left it unattended in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. The brush caught fire and subsequently burned 840 square miles in Arizona and New Mexico.

The payment the cousins will make are for $3.7 million in restitution, with uninsured people who lost property or suffered property damage to receive the first payments. People who had out-of-pocket expenses will be next to receive payments, and lastly, insurance companies – owed nearly $3.4 million. The cousins will probably not pay off their debt in their lifetimes. The blaze destroyed 32 homes, 4 rental cabins, and nearly 10,000 people were forced to evacuate at one point. “That’s a lifetime payment, if you’re just a working man, of $500 and you’re not buying a house, you’re not paying a credit card. I can’t imagine,” said Nutrioso’s postmaster, Stuart Moring,

The Malboeuf’s attorneys suggested the payments during a restitution hearing. Attorney David Derickson said the cousins would be available to talk about their experiences camping, and their missteps, and hopes the U. S. Forest Service and schools will have a use for them.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has expert witness experience with property damage and personal injury cases. We have deposition and trial experience working for plaintiff and defense cases on behalf of individuals, insurance companies and public agencies. Please call us today for a consultation.

Pasadena Windstorm Tree Fund Created to Replace Lost Trees

Tree Appraisal

Tree Appraisal

Pasadena Beautiful and the Pasadena Community Foundation have joined forces by starting the Pasadena Windstorm Tree Fund to help raise money to replace the 1,100 trees lost during the massive windstorm of 2011. With these funds, the two groups intend to work with the city to prioritize replacement needs. Not only will funds be used to replace lost trees, but 70 damaged park trees will also be assessed with these funds.

With the replacement of downed trees, the city will be looking more closely at the best type of trees for certain situations, like street trees. “Personally, I think it’s an opportunity for the city to analyze which are vulnerable sites through street trees damaged or lost,” said Foundation board member Sid Tyler. “It’s important they don’t replant the wrong trees. And Number 2, I think it’s also a chance for reevaluation in terms of the pruning cycle. Some of these trees get large, and if they’re not regularly pruned, they’re a wind baffle.”

The community is also weighing in on what trees they think should be chosen as replacements.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has experience in examining thousands of trees for signs of decay, poor branch structure, poor pruning and maintenance practices and roots. The fundamental goal of tree-risk assessment is to help minimize development of hazardous tree defects and help reduce the risks trees may pose. We are also qualified to give expert opinions on multi-level casualty claims. Please call us today for a consultation.

Pasadena Windstorm Anniversary Marked

Tree Examination

Tree Examination

November 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of a major windstorm in the Pasadena area. During the storm, about 10 percent of the area’s trees were damaged or downed by the winds that reached 80 miles per hour. Although there was significant damage from trees and limbs falling – an apartment building was split in half and car windshields, patios, roofs, and storefronts were broken – no one was killed.

To honor the lost trees and tree limbs, the Los Angeles County Arboretum &Botanic Garden in Arcadia featured sculptures made from trees that fell during the storm. This exhibit was called “Forces of Nature” and 75 artists participated in the exhibit.

The windstorm hit Pasadena, Monrovia, Irwindale, San Marino, Glendale, Altadena, Arcadia, San Gabriel, Sierra Madre, and Temple City. Temple City Councilman Fernando Vizcarra has lived in Temple City for more than 50 years and thinks this was the worst storm that he has ever seen.

Evergreen Arborists Consultants, Inc. has experience in examining thousands of trees for signs of decay, poor branch structure, poor pruning and maintenance practices and roots. The fundamental goal of tree-risk assessment is to help minimize development of hazardous tree defects and help reduce the risks trees may pose. We are also qualified to give expert opinions on multi-level casualty claims. Please call us today for a consultation.

Oak Trees Damaged in Fire

Old tree

Old tree

Two oak trees on the Auburn University campus were burned in the early morning hours in November. A video showed the trees rolled with toilet paper and two men passing the trees just before the fire started. A week after the fire, most of the trees’ foliage had browned and begun to fall off. The trees were examined by members of Auburn University’s Trees Task Force and were found to have severe injury and death of most of the rootstalk and rhizomic shoots, damage to the bark of the trees at ground level, leaf scorching, and damage to surrounding trees and shrubs. Because of the timing of the fire, new leaves will probably not form on the tree until next spring.

The trees were already in severe decline due to a case of poisoning last year, and the task force said that the fire would likely further weaken the trees.  “Everyone takes a lot of pride in the oak trees and no one wants to see something like that happen” said Police Capt. Tom Stofer.

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Oaks to be Removed for Road-Widening Project

Old oak tree

Old oak tree

A new Ocean Springs High School is under construction in Jackson County Mississippi. Along with the new school, county supervisors plan on widening Mississippi 57 to three lanes between U.S. 90 and Old Spanish Trail. It will also add a sidewalk, other safety features, and crossing arms at the railroad track. But this construction comes at a price – four live oaks and some water oaks will have to be cut down on the east side of Mississippi 57.

To compensate for the tree losses, the county has been working closely with the city of Gautier, who opposes the removal of the trees. “We’ve mitigated by furnishing $10,000 to the city to plant additional trees and by agreeing to pay the full cost of moving all utilities, which would normally be the city’s responsibility,” said board President John McKay. Trees are also going to be donated by Land Trust, whom the county is working with.

A nearby resident who was interviewed feels that the county has rushed into a decision without thought and suggests using eminent domain to relocate the project to the west side of Mississippi 57. McKay says that the closeness of Fontainebleau Community Center, the fire station, and other buildings keep the county from considering a move to the west.

 

Old Oak Trees to be Cut Down for Pipeline

Ed Southern and his wife own land in Texas that is on the planned 61 miles of new pipeline being constructed from the Eagle Ford Shale to the Houston Ship Channel. Kinder Morgan, a natural gas pipeline company, is laying down the pipeline.

Southern was offered $54,000 for the pipeline to run through the property, but when he realized that the pipeline would go through an oak grove that had been on the property for generations, he countered the offer by asking for an increase in reimbursement so he could replant 12 oak trees. The oak trees to be cut down are important for shade for cattle on the land as well as supplying acorns used in cattle feed.

The Kinder representative countered the new offer with less than a third of what was requested. “They’ll pay for grass, they’ll pay for the fence they tear down, but they told me they don’t pay for trees,” said Southern. Southern decided to go ahead and sign the agreement, but was served soon after the signing with an eminent domain lawsuit, which allows the company to go ahead with plans and the landowner is unable to keep them out.

Once the trees are cut down, new trees can’t be planted near the pipeline so that the pipeline will be free of roots. Southern is unhappy to see his old oak trees cut down – some he thinks are over 100 years old – but he’s trying to accept it.

 

Overruling of Destroyed Trees Compensation

A recent Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida has overturned a ruling that the state is constitutionally required to pay full compensation for trees taken by the state during the state’s canker eradication program. The appellate court has stated that eminent domain laws do not cover the taking of trees. The homeowners of the destroyed trees are Palm Beach County residents – who feel that they are owed $19.2 million for the healthy citrus trees the state destroyed. The ruling now means that the tree owners must go before the Legislature to start the claims process, instead of making a claim directly against the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Forty thousand Palm Beach County homeowners were affected in the removal and destruction of the citrus trees, with 66,493 uninfected trees taken. The original award for the taking was given by a jury, who determined that the homeowners were owed more that the $100 Walmart gift cards offered for the first tree and $55 for each additional tree. The average award was an averaged of $288 per tree, or $19.2 million. With this reversal in ruling, the homeowners may take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

The canker eradication program was controversial – not only were trees destroyed that had the cankers, but also trees within a 1,900 feet radius of any infected tree were destroyed. The eradication program ended in January 2006, with a cost of $1.6 billion, when the federal government declared the disease endemic to Florida. At that point, more than 16.5 million infected and healthy trees in commercial and residential properties were removed and destroyed.

 

Portland Fines For Removing Nuisance Trees

Portland, Oregon has strict measures in place that reduce the likelihood that property owners will replace nuisance trees with non-nuisance trees. The city code is set up to protect the city’s mature canopy, so healthy nuisance tree removal comes with a mitigation fee of $300 per inch of diameter measured at four and a half feet from the ground. For each newly planted tree, the penalty is reduced.

This policy is called into question when Norway maples are what property owners want to remove. Norway maples have shallow root systems that damage sidewalks and streets. They also spread quickly and outcompete other plants, are prone to disease, and are likely to drop large limbs.

One property owner who wanted six matching trees on his property – he had three that were Norway maples – was told he couldn’t put in three more Norway maples because they were listed as nuisance trees. When he said he would cut his existing three Norway maples down to replant with six non-nuisance trees, he was told that the mitigation fee would be about $10,050.

Removing Gingko Trees Would Set Precedent

Residents on Hayes Street in Birmingham, Michigan, do not look forward to fall, when vegetation starts falling from trees. This residential street has 28 female Gingko trees that drop leaves and fruit on lawns, streets, and sidewalks. The leaves are not a problem, but the fruit is –when crushed the fruit releases a very unpleasant odor that residents say is a nuisance.

To combat this smell, residents have petitioned the City Commission to take action against the smell. The assistant city manager, Joe Valentine, was in attendance at the meeting when the petition was presented, along with a bag of the smelly fruit. Valentine has first-hand experience with the smell, because he lives on the street. He said of the Gingko fruit, “…once they mature and fall to the ground, when you crush them they have an odor to them. It causes an inconvenience, and that’s an understatement.”

So far, many residents would like to solve the problem by cutting down the trees, but Valentine says that isn’t likely to happen because there is a city ordinance in place to protect healthy trees that aren’t a nuisance or a danger to people. Injectable treatments to reduce fruit production and increased street cleanup were ideas that were discussed. There was also a worry that a precedent would be made if the Gingko trees were removed. “We don’t want to remove trees for just any reason. There’s a lot of trees in the community that people consider a nuisance because of flaky bark, roots…and we don’t just remove those trees,” said Lauren Wood, director of public services for the city.

But one resident said that increased street sweeping would do nothing for sidewalks or yards.

Residents Want Pine Trees Cut

Old tree

Old tree

Pine trees lining West A Street in Dixon, CA are being considered for removal. There are 45 trees in all, and they line a street that goes into the city’s historic downtown district. Residents on the street have complained that the pine trees are dropping large quantities of pine needles into their yards and onto sidewalks.

The pine trees were planted more than 25 years ago when the street had few houses built on it, and most of the residents feel that the trees are a nuisance. Roy Powell, a resident on the street, said of the needles, “They get all over my sidewalk. I’d like to see them cut the trees down and maybe plant something a little different that doesn’t require high maintenance from me.” Another neighbor commented, “It’s just extra yard work for anybody and none of us like extra yard work.”

Although the town is considering the request, not everyone wants the trees to be removed and feel the trees serve a number of purposes throughout the year. If the town does decide to cut the trees down, each tree would cost $1000, for a total of $45,000.