Camp Fire recovery efforts from California’s deadliest wildfire are entering a new phase, which includes the removal of hundreds of thousands of fire-damaged trees in danger of falling in Paradise and surrounding communities. In the coming weeks, the state will award four contracts: two to help manage the mass tree removal operation as Butte County works to gain permission from property owners to access affected land through Right-of-Entry agreements; and two for the licensed timber operators who will fell the trees.
“We find ourselves in extraordinary times, and the resilience we’ve seen in our communities in response to the current health crisis is emblematic of the resilience Paradise and the surrounding region has demonstrated since the Camp Fire,” California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) Acting Director Ken DaRosa said. “This tree removal operation is the next important step in continuing to rebuild. Our priority is the safety of the people of Butte County, the workers, and the environment.”
Hazard Tree Removal
In 2018, the Camp Fire left 85 people dead and over 13,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged. Following the completion of structural debris removal in November 2019, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) tasked CalRecycle with managing the safe removal of fire-damaged trees in danger of falling on public rights of way, public facilities, or private roads that serve as critical access for services to residents.
“Removing hazardous trees is the next phase in helping Butte County rebuild and recover from the Camp Fire,” said Cal OES Chief Deputy Director Christina Curry. “We are standing with this community and will continue to work closely with our partners to complete this project quickly and efficiently.”
The state-managed tree removal program consists of two phases: Phase 1 – Identification of trees posing a hazard to the public by certified foresters and arborists; Phase 2 – Safe removal of hazard trees, sending them to their best use.
Tree Removal Contractors
CalRecycle currently seeks four separate contracting firms for:
• Field Management
A firm to provide the foresters and arborists responsible for assessing, marking, surveying, and tracking trees to be removed, as well as monitoring the crews performing the removal work.
• Administrative Management
A company with extensive experience in financial and administrative services to assist the project’s budget and auditing objectives.
• Tree Removal Contractors
Two licensed timber operators who will be responsible for the safe removal of marked trees and delivery to end-use facilities.
Information about CalRecycle’s contract solicitations is available at CalRecycle.ca.gov/contracts
Fire-damaged trees that endanger the public health must be removed. Camp Fire survivors can sign up for the government-managed program with no out-of-pocket costs to property owners. They can also choose to remove any hazard trees themselves, hire someone to do it for them, or have an independent arborist certify that their trees are already cleared.
Two-thirds of affected property owners have responded to Butte County’s call to sign up for the State-managed program or opt to manage the tree removal themselves. Those who have not yet responded should visit the county’s dedicated website at ButteCountyRecovers.org.