Tree pruning and removal services for Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, and Running Springs
By Dan Begley, V.P. Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council, Defensible Space Specialist.
Wildland fire events are getting bigger and more devastating each year in every western state. Throughout 2017, the worst year on record, fire burnt 1.4 million acres and destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 structures in California (destroyed 9,470, damaged 810), a higher tally than the previous nine years combined. Our current drought will intensify the fires that will occur. We must do what we can to minimize their destructive potential.
Fires are a natural occurrence in mountains. Historically, our natural forests have benefited from fire as a “positive agent for change” in which small trees burn quickly during low intensity fires and leave more resources for the larger trees. The more resources, the healthier the trees. However, we cannot allow low intensity fires to travel through our mountain communities. Houses would burn. People could die. Making it far worse is the fire that occurs in communities where small trees are not thinned out and fires become intense enough to burn the larger trees. Good-bye forests. Therefore, if we want healthy trees we must mimic Mother Nature by removing smaller trees ourselves. Removing smaller trees to establish and maintain a more natural tree population, or “density,” as Mother Natural would in our absence, will result in healthier more mature trees that are less likely to burn, less susceptible to insect attach and diseases, and lessen the intensity of fires when they do occur.
The San Bernardino County Mountain Area Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance 23.0304 is based on sound fire behavior science developed by CalFire. Compliance with this process or “prescription” creates a Modified Shaded Fuel Break, which is a sensible solution to make our mountain communities safer and trees healthier. Most important of all is for landowners to buy into the necessity of compliance with 23.0304, which by the way, is mandatory. Property owners who wish to maintain privacy or a specific look often fail to do so and are responsible for the destruction of neighboring homes during every fire. People can often have it both ways, though. Our education, knowledge, and experience of fire behavior in a wildland-urban-interface allows us to design acceptable solutions for many properties.