A recent article in the Calaveras Enterprise featured a Sacramento-based lawyer, Steve Campora. He and other Butte Fire litigators are advising their clients to not allow county-paid contractors to remove dead and dying trees from their properties. The tree removal is being funded with $10 million in state funds the county secured to help local residents and protect local infrastructure.
Claiming that homeowners are at risk from the tree removal program, Campora and his colleagues are telling local residents to leave large, dead trees next to their homes and county roads. These hazard trees will quickly lose their structural integrity and become susceptible to high winds later in the season. Is it really in local residents’ interest to not allow the county to remove the trees?
The county has done us a big favor in trying to reduce the real risk to people and property. If not removed, the dead and dying trees will fall on homes, people, animals, roads and power lines, increasing the risk of further fire. That is a clear and present danger.
While homeowners are wise to be cautious, the risk of leaving standing dead and dying trees on your property is real. If the year following the Butte Fire has taught us anything, it is the need for each of us to be better stewards of our land. The county tree removal program is an opportunity to do just that.
We hope that local landowners will make a reasonable risk assessment in this situation and act conservatively to protect their homes, their lives and our roadways and power lines. Doing so may not benefit the Butte Fire lawyers, but it could just save your life.