SoCal Edison’s Tree-Removal Plan to Reduce Wildfire Threat Goes Too Far, Arborist Says

Pictured is a home on April 8, 2015, in La Canada Flintridge, California, on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in northern Los Angeles County. (redit: FREDERIC BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pictured is a home on April 8, 2015, in La Canada Flintridge, California, on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in northern Los Angeles County. (redit: FREDERIC BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Southern California Edison is making big plans to reduce the chances of fire ignition in high-risk areas such as La Cañada Flintridge, proposing to spend more than $118 million throughout its service area on enhanced vegetation management between now and 2020.

As part of a 119-page Wildfire Mitigation Plan, required by state law and submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission on Feb. 6, the utility aims to reduce threats posed by falling trees and hanging limbs near power lines by removing at least 7,500 trees (with funding being sought for the removal of up to 15,000) in 2019 and maintaining a 12-foot clearance around all electrical wires.

Contracted work crews have been busy on the streets of La Cañada and neighboring Altadena in recent months, trimming or topping trees to accommodate the new radial requirement, far greater than the 4 feet standard previously imposed.

The results of their labor — visible on several La Cañada residential streets north of Foothill Boulevard — is causing concern among at least one arborist and residents who fear such extreme pruning could imperil the health of certain tree species.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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