SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Since late December, Northern California has been hit with winter storms involving heavy rain and winds.
The heavy weather conditions caused several trees to fall in Sacramento, leading to the city receiving hundreds of requests about downed or uprooted trees, fallen tree limbs, and debris blocking roadways.
On Jan. 6, the city of Sacramento said it received nearly 700 tree removal requests since the New Year’s Eve storm. At the time, Sacramento Public Works Director Ryan Moore said 200 of those requests have been resolved or were in the progress of being resolved.
“All available City crews and contractors are working to respond, with life safety and mobility as top priorities,” Moore said on the city’s website. “We are working around the clock to address the most pressing issues. With more storms arriving soon, we expect the number of requests to increase in the coming days.”
The New York Times reported that the atmospheric rivers claimed 1,000 trees in Sacramento through Jan. 6. The City of Sacramento Urban Forester Kevin Hocker told the New York Times that the toll was “much more” than he’d seen in other storms and that 60 fell in one city park.
On Jan. 11, the Sacramento Department of Transportation said 600 trees blown over by the storms have been removed from county roads since New Year’s Day.
According to New York Times report, a giant sequoia tree at Capitol Park was uprooted and fell during the storms. The giant tree stood at Capitol Park for an estimated 80 to 100 years during 18 different governorships, according to the Times.
The Times also reported that a large downed cedar tree blocked an entrance to the Sacramento City College campus.
What is the tree removal process in Sacramento?
According to the city of Sacramento, cleanup requires Urban Forestry crews to manage the large and downed trees. Sawyers are also involved in the process and are from Team Rubicon, which is a non-government organizer that specializes in emergency response.
The tree removal and cleanup involves those types of crews because city staff isn’t trained to use the necessary equipment in the clearing, moving, and transporting of debris, according to the city.
In situations where trees have fallen on buildings, the city said cranes are required during those types of removals. However, there’s only a limited amount of cranes available in the region, and the demand outweighs the supply, creating a backlog.
If power lines have been downed, the city said crews must wait for approval from the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD). The utility company must approve the tree removal for safety reasons such as making sure the removal doesn’t create an electrical emergency.
“We are engaging every available resource to address these issues, and we are actively searching for additional resources,” Moore said.