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    Letters to the editor – Boston Herald - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Storm saviors

    We just survived another storm with no power. When thanking essential workers, we have missed two hugely important teams National Grid and their peers some from as far away as Canada. I must include all tree removal services. Unlike other essential workers, we may not see these teams working diligently.

    Being without power is exasperating and out of our control. We all wait by candle light and count the minutes. We cheer when the power is restored. We all then go back to our lives.

    We owe a huge thank you to every person on those teams. They respond quickly to every outage or downed tree. They work in horrible weather.

    I watched Walnut Tree Removal Service remove a gigantic tree from a neighbors yard. When I looked out, I saw an orange-clad person hanging higher than three stories and supervising the removal of this tree. A huge claw carried the tree over a pool, porch, driveway and dropped it in the street. In a flash, the crew chopped it up and placed the pieces into the wood chipper. One worker was singing as he worked. They cleaned the roadway and were gone!

    Give a loud shout out to these professionals. Thank you!

    Patricia Wheeler, Hanson

    My wife and I requested mail-in voting packets for the upcoming general election. We completed the ballot and returned them on 10/2.

    On 10/16, we received another set of ballots. Knowing we had previously submitted our completed ballots, we thought the new ballots were sent in error and prepared to shred them. That was until I checked the Secretary of States website and noticed both our ballots were rejected! No reason is provided, however there is notice that on 10/14, new ballots were mailed.

    I strongly urge each person who used mail-in ballot selection to verify your ballots status on the Secretary of States website to make sure your vote is accepted.

    We are currently awaiting word from our towns administrator on why the ballots were rejected so we dont make the same mistake.

    Brian Howland, Foxboro

    Joe Biden sold his vice presidency to foreign nations in order to enrich himself and his family. The evidence of this is overwhelming, even including a video of him bragging about quid pro quo with the Ukraine. Overall there were millions, even billions of dollars involved.

    This was a case of in office treason.

    The very corrupt media is hiding, covering this up. With a mountain of evidence, not one single question was asked at the ABC Town Hall Meeting with Biden.

    Al DiLascia, Chicopee

    I would like to recognize and acknowledge the courage of the police unions in the towns of Duxbury, Hanson and Pembroke for their support for Tatyana Semyrog in her fight to represent the citizens of the aforementioned towns. These exceptional officers understand the importance of electing officials who will support law enforcement and listen to them when important issues that directly impact their ability to perform their public safety duties arise. Sadly our current state representative thought there was no need to conduct a public hearing on the issue of police reform.

    Police reform is a serious issue and the public, all of the public, including police should be at the table where all stakeholders can participate.

    Al Goslin, retired BPD, Duxbury

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    Letters to the editor - Boston Herald

    Rail News – Sound Transit ramps up Redmond light-rail extension work. For Railroad Career Professionals – Progressive Rail Roading - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Rail News Home Passenger Rail

    10/20/2020

    Rail News: Passenger Rail

    Sound Transit this week will begin demolition, utility relocation and tree removal to accommodate a planned 3.4-mile extension of the agency's Link light-rail into downtown Redmond, Washington.

    The Downtown Redmond Link Extension will extend the light-rail line from the Redmond Technology Station and include two new stations serving southeast Redmond and the downtown residential and retail core, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.

    As part of the project, Sound Transit will replant more than 12,000 trees to replace about 3,000 trees crews must remove for construction. The agency also will restore more than 500 feet of Bear Creek and its flood plain. The restoration will include removing an old railroad trestle, rubble and culverts.

    Light rail and station construction will start next year. Service on the extended line is slated to begin in 2024.

    Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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    Rail News - Sound Transit ramps up Redmond light-rail extension work. For Railroad Career Professionals - Progressive Rail Roading

    Thousands of trees damaged by CZU Lightning Complex to be cut – KSBW Monterey - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Two months after the CZU Lightning Complex ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains, destroying thousands and thousands of acres, trees that remain standing are but a shell of themselves.The trees are a danger to the public and crews are removing them to protect the public and provide emergency access.It's usually very quiet along Swanton Road in Davenport but the silence is broken with the buzz of saws cutting down trees."Just to give you an idea. On Swanton road alone we've identified about 1,100 trees that are in danger of falling or a hazard of falling on the roadway itself," said Santa Cruz County Public Works Department Assistant Director, Steve Wiesnor.That's just one section where the CZU Lightning fire burnedForty-five miles of roadway run through the fire zone in the Santa Cruz Mountains where trees now pose a threat of falling onto homes and mountain roads."It's really important to us now more than ever to keep our roadways open and clear so we have emergency access," said Wiesnor.Small trees and very large Firs and Redwoods are scheduled for removalEach tree is numbered and undergone a full assessment."I don't like losing all of these great trees but these are dead. Numerous arborists from various tree companies have said that if the leaves are more than 70% burned the trees arent going to make it," said Kelly Foster, who lives in Davenport."I'm going to get my own independent arborist out here and come to them with some new evidence," said Mathers Rowley of DavenportMathers Rowley agrees some trees need to be cut down but the giant redwoods surrounding his property should be off-limits, especially a 200 foot tall redwood on his property."To me, this is a major feature of my real estate. I love having it there and I want to give it a chance to live."Many of the trees are located on private property.The County is seeking permission from property owners to remove themYou can contact the county through social media or the Public Works Departments Facebook Page.So, just how many trees are there in the CZU Fire Complex burn scar that needs to be removed?"It's almost impossible to put a number on. It's in the thousands. It's 86,000 acres I can't even begin to imagine" said, Sarah Collamer, Cal Fire Forester.The cost to remove all of those trees will run into the millions of dollars--FEMA is expected to help pay for their removal.

    Two months after the CZU Lightning Complex ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains, destroying thousands and thousands of acres, trees that remain standing are but a shell of themselves.

    The trees are a danger to the public and crews are removing them to protect the public and provide emergency access.

    It's usually very quiet along Swanton Road in Davenport but the silence is broken with the buzz of saws cutting down trees.

    "Just to give you an idea. On Swanton road alone we've identified about 1,100 trees that are in danger of falling or a hazard of falling on the roadway itself," said Santa Cruz County Public Works Department Assistant Director, Steve Wiesnor.

    That's just one section where the CZU Lightning fire burned

    Forty-five miles of roadway run through the fire zone in the Santa Cruz Mountains where trees now pose a threat of falling onto homes and mountain roads.

    "It's really important to us now more than ever to keep our roadways open and clear so we have emergency access," said Wiesnor.

    Small trees and very large Firs and Redwoods are scheduled for removal

    Each tree is numbered and undergone a full assessment.

    "I don't like losing all of these great trees but these are dead. Numerous arborists from various tree companies have said that if the leaves are more than 70% burned the trees arent going to make it," said Kelly Foster, who lives in Davenport.

    "I'm going to get my own independent arborist out here and come to them with some new evidence," said Mathers Rowley of Davenport

    Mathers Rowley agrees some trees need to be cut down but the giant redwoods surrounding his property should be off-limits, especially a 200 foot tall redwood on his property.

    "To me, this is a major feature of my real estate. I love having it there and I want to give it a chance to live."

    Many of the trees are located on private property.

    The County is seeking permission from property owners to remove them

    You can contact the county through social media or the Public Works Departments Facebook Page.

    So, just how many trees are there in the CZU Fire Complex burn scar that needs to be removed?

    "It's almost impossible to put a number on. It's in the thousands. It's 86,000 acres I can't even begin to imagine" said, Sarah Collamer, Cal Fire Forester.

    The cost to remove all of those trees will run into the millions of dollars--FEMA is expected to help pay for their removal.

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    Thousands of trees damaged by CZU Lightning Complex to be cut - KSBW Monterey

    Local News Briefs: Hickory Flats offering trick or treat on Saturday – Coshocton Tribune - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Staff Report Published 1:17 p.m. ET Oct. 20, 2020

    WEST LAFAYETTE - A trick or treat party will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, at Hickory Flats Golf Course,53188 Township Road 155, West Lafayette.

    The course will be decorated for Halloween with a path on the golf course for trick or treaters followed by a Halloween party in the club house. The party will featuregames, food, prizes, a pie in the face contest, costume judging and raffles. Costume judging will be for cutest and scariest for age 9 and under and 10 and older.

    Donations being accepted for prizes and candy. Raffle prizes for parents include an 18-hole gift card. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army Christmas Castle.

    COSHOCTON - Chestnut Street will be closed all day on Thursday to all traffic from 16th to 17th streets for tree removal. The project could carry over into Friday.

    COSHOCTON - The Coshocton County Firefighters Toy Chest will have applications sign-ups from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 9 and noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 11 inthe Youth Building at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds.

    The program is for low income families of Coshocton County needing help with Christmas toys for children from newborn to 15-years-old. Face coverings and social distancing is required.Go to facebook.com/ccfirefighterstoychestfor more information.

    COSHOTON - Trick or treat will be hold from 4 to 5 p.m. Oct. 29 in Roscoe Village. Face coverings and social distancing is to be observed.

    WARSAW - Echoing Hills has started A Day at Camp program,designed for group homes and adult day services.It allows individual groups to come to Camp Echoing Hills to participate in a little of what the typical summer camp has to offer.

    Groups will be at the campfor four hours and can choose to join for a morning, afternoonor dinner and a movie experience with many activities in which to participate in while there.

    For more informationor to schedule a group,contact Camp DirectorLauren Ungerat 740-327-0300, ext. 1201.

    COSHOCTON - The Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative is holding a Family Rock Hunt from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 at Clary Gardens, 588 W. Chestnut St. Found rocks for prizes can be redeemed from 3 to 4 p.m. each day.

    One rock can be redeemed per child. Fathersor father-figures must be present. Special prizes are for those who find golden rocks. There will also be white rocks with the CCFI logo.

    COSHOCTON - The Coshocton Tribune will accept letters to the editor relating to the Nov. 3election until 4 p.m. Oct.26.

    Letters are to be no more than 350 words and must include the writers full name and city of residency. Also include a phone number for verification purposes only. No letters relating to candidates, issues or options will be accepted after the deadline.

    Letters in a copy and paste format can be emailed to ctnews@coshoctontribune.com.

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    Local News Briefs: Hickory Flats offering trick or treat on Saturday - Coshocton Tribune

    Work begins on removing diseased ash trees in Ironbridge Gorge – shropshirestar.com - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Ash dieback was first found in the UK in 2012 and is lethal to most ash trees (Gareth Fuller/PA)

    Ash dieback is a fungus spread through spores that has been sweeping across the UK since it was first spotted in 2012 when an imported nursery tree from Asia brought the disease to these shores.

    It is a killer and European ash have no natural defences to it.

    In 2013, Telford and Wrekin recorded its first case.

    It is expected that almost all of Englands ash trees will die from the disease and the impact in Telford and Wrekin will be significant.

    In 2018, Telford & Wrekin Council commissioned a tree survey to log the location of trees in many areas of the borough, their type, height and spread, overall health and proximity to buildings.

    A risk rating was applied to each tree, identifying trees in poor condition that require urgent maintenance or removal, including ash trees affected by ash dieback. Since then, a tree surveyor has been doing further assessments on the boroughs ash trees.

    Around 80 diseased and dying ash trees at Legges Way and Coalport Road need to be removed for safety reasons as branches could fall from dying trunks.

    Road closures will be in place from now until November 19 in order for the tree work to be done safely.

    During the closures, the council will also carry out structural surveys on Lee Dingle Bridge and drainage works.

    Blists Hill will make use of the closures to fell dead and dying ash trees on its land.

    Access will be maintained for residents and businesses and diversions will be in place to direct traffic.

    Work will be done in three phases.

    Timber from the felled trees will be removed and sold for green biomass energy.

    The council will then see what natural regeneration comes in the gaps next year before looking to replant with other disease resistant natives.

    Link:
    Work begins on removing diseased ash trees in Ironbridge Gorge - shropshirestar.com

    Fairhope to resume recycling pickups – Gulf Coast News Today - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Guy Busby

    FAIRHOPE More than a month after being shut down by Hurricane Sally, Fairhope will resume curbside recycling pickups Monday as the efforts to clean up after the storm continued.

    Richard Johnson, city public works director, said the center that processes Fairhopes recyclable materials in Escambia County, Fla., has reopened. The city resumed curbside pickups on Monday and reopened the drop-off center as well. He said the city landfill is also open to receive material.

    Well accept all recyclables at the drop off, Johnson said. The landfill will only accept household rubbish, small-quantity construction and demolition debris, bagged vegetative debris, old mattresses, furniture, etc. rubbish.

    He said large amounts of debris from the storm should not be brought to the city landfill but left at the curbside for pickup.

    We are asking to not bring to us bulk vegetative debris, such as limbs, trunks, stumps, storm-related, Johnson said. We just dont have the capacity to process that in our internal landfill and no bulk construction and demolition debris. If youre cleaning up your yard and youve got just a little bit of blown-down fence, bring it to us. If youve got two, four, six truckloads, put it out by curbside because we still have to take that to a certified, lined landfill, so let our contractor do that and its more cost-effective for that.

    Johnson told the City Council on Monday, Oct. 12, that work continues to collect and remove the debris left behind by the storm. Officials dont know, however, if the city will meet the deadline to make at least one collection throughout Fairhope within 28 days after the storm.

    Just to kind of give you an update, our debris contractor, even though some days youll pull down the street and it wont look like it, they are blowing and going, Johnson said Theyre exceeding, on average now, 11,000 cubic yards a day. The bill, as of the close of business Friday, was $1.75 million and counting, but they are moving. I think that we are probably a little, slightly, behind schedule on our zero to 28 days for our first pass, but were not far off of that and hopefully, tomorrows meeting will kind of give us an idea of if were going to be able to cover at least every road once by the 28th day. Today started day 22.

    Initial city estimates were that about 400,000 cubic yards of debris would have to be collected.

    One way that residents can speed up the debris collection process is to separate material placed at the roadside for pickup, Johnson said. Vegetative debris, such as tree limbs and trunks, should be separated from construction and demolition debris, which includes boards and other items from damaged buildings.

    For example, pressure-treated wood, we cant put that in an inert, vegetative disposal area. It has to go to a lined landfill because of some of the chemical content, Johnson said. Right now, if the piles are mixed up, that contractor is passing them by. Theyll eventually get to them, but thats a mixed load and every bit of it will have to go to the actual Magnolia Landfill.

    City Council President Jack Burrell said another issue with collection is that some property owners and contractors are cutting healthy trees and putting the debris at the curb to be collected as storm debris.

    If you have a tree in your yard that was not damaged by Hurricane Sally and you just decide its time to take that down, youre not supposed to put that out there in the hurricane debris pile, Burrell said. Its not our responsibility to pick that up. Now I know people are taking advantage of this time to cut trees and put piles of vegetative debris, but thats strictly, not supposed to be allowed.

    Johnson said city regulations require contractors to remove debris and include the removal costs in their prices.

    By ordinance, when an individual is offering contract services, such as tree removal or heavy landscaping, it says that price is to include the removal of the debris created from those contract services, Johnson said. So, in this case, if you have decided you want to remove perfectly healthy trees, and you hire a contractor, that fee you pay for those services, should also include that contractor hauling all the debris related to those contract services away.

    Read more here:
    Fairhope to resume recycling pickups - Gulf Coast News Today

    Local uproar as Eton College cuts down 150-year-old oak tree to make way for possible housing development – On The Wight - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Seaview residents are in uproar after a much-loved, 150-year-old oak tree was cut down on the orders of one of the worlds best-known private schools.

    The oak tree stood on land next to the public footpath which overlooks Seagrove Bay and St Helens Fort and is known to locals as the Donkey Field, as it used to house donkeys.

    Owned by Eton CollegeThe land, which used to be part of the Seagrove Estate, is now owned by Eton College, the exclusive school that includes the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, past PM David Cameron, Princes William and Harry and film stars Hugh Laurie and Dominic West among its old boys.

    After the removal of the tree in September, residents have sprung into action to stop other trees on the field being taken down.

    Save the Donkey Field campaign A campaign group called Save the Donkey Field has been started to oppose any potential development being proposed and preserve the iconic view as it is under threat.

    A spokesperson for the group said,

    Local residents are both upset and dismayed at what they see as the wanton, unnecessary, destruction of those trees.

    No planning application has yet been made let alone granted. Tree preservation orders have now been obtained on an expedited basis to prevent Eton from felling any other tree in the field.

    For more information or to get involved with the campaign, you can visit the campaign Website.

    IWC: No offence was committedThe group had questioned whether the felling of the tree was legal, but the Isle of Wight Council has confirmed as the tree was on private land and it has no evidence to suggest otherwise, no offence was committed.

    A spokesperson for the council said,

    Following requests from local people and an assessment of the location, a tree preservation order was made which protects some of the other trees in that area.

    In general, the order does not prevent planning applications from being made on land, but the protection of the trees will ensure that they are part of the planning discussion if an application to develop the site is received in the future.

    Site deemed deliverable for up to 12 houses Asset manager of the land for the trustees of Eton College, Camilla Capaldi, of Clearbell, confirmed the site was deemed deliverable for up to 12 houses as a result of the councils strategic housing land availability assessment process.

    Pre-application proposal for low-density residential schemeMs Capaldi said the oak trees removal was to facilitate access to the site and landscaping proposed as part of the housing plan would incorporate the planting of a good number of trees including native oaks.

    She said,

    We have submitted a pre-application proposal and taken on board comments from the council as to the type of development they would like to see here, with the ultimate intention of submitting an application for a low-density residential scheme in due course.

    This article is from the BBCs LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

    More here:
    Local uproar as Eton College cuts down 150-year-old oak tree to make way for possible housing development - On The Wight

    Residents, officials debate how to create a defensible wildfire buffer in the Tahoe Basin – Reno Gazette Journal - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Retired South Lake Tahoe city manager David Jinkens talks about the need for fire mitigation on Oct. 15, 2020. Reno Gazette Journal

    Former South Lake Tahoe City Manager David Jinkens remembers when the 2007 Angora Fire blazed through the region and hes worried that state and federally-managed lands in the Tahoe Basin arent being managed properly to keep a wildfire at bay.

    But California and Nevada land managers say government agencies are steadily reducing wildfire fuels and that homeowners should trust the system. They also cite previous failed attempts to allow residents to mitigate fuels on public land near their homes.

    Its a unique situation up there where you live in a forested environment, and people should be aware they live in a forested environment, said Charlie Donohue, administrator for the Nevada Division of State Lands. We dont just manage our lands for fuels reduction. We manage them for wildlife and watersheds.

    But Jinkens isnt satisfied with that answer.

    Retired city manager David Jinkens poses for a portrait in an overgrown tract of California Tahoe Conservancy land near some homes in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood in South Lake Tahoe on Oct. 15, 2020.(Photo: JASON BEAN)

    Jinkens is lobbying the South Lake Tahoe City Council to take legal action against state and federal agencies he feels arent properly managing public lands, and area fire chiefs late last year asked state agencies to allow private citizens to do fuel reduction work on state land.

    Were happy we have open space, but they arent maintaining them, Jinkens said. You would think they would understand their job is to do that not on their timeline, but on an urgency basis.

    I dont want us to become the town of Paradise. We are, in South Lake, less prepared than they were in the town of Paradise.

    In 2018, the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, reported that of the 33 million acres of forest in California, about 57%is overseen by the federal government either the U.S. Forest Service of the Bureau of Land Management. About 40%is privately held, and the other 3%is state or locally managed.

    In the Tahoe Basin, about 155,000 acres are federally managed, according to Forest Schafer, acting chief of natural resources for the California Tahoe Conservancy.Nevada manages about 7,000 acres; about 28,000 acres are privately owned or tribal property; and California owns about 13,500 acres.

    Wildfires:Elderly couple died together seeking refuge from North Complex Fire

    Of those 13,500 acres, the CTC oversees about half while the other half is primarily overseen by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

    We can, and should, do more. But I dont want to put that responsibility on every citizen to manage the lands. I dont think the solution is you only get defensible space if you make it yourself.

    Donohoe said Nevada acquired a substantial amount of its Tahoe-area property in the 1980sfollowing the Tahoe Bond Act, which allowed the state to acquire lands threatened with development, that provided lakeshore access for wildlife or public recreation, or to consolidate land ownership for more effective management.

    The conservancy also acquired environmentally sensitive parcels, securing more than 6,500 acres on the California side of the basin since 1985.

    The CTC oversees about 600 parcels in South Lake Tahoes city limits. Most of the parcels are small about a third of an acre or less.

    Donohoe said that in the past, the state operated a Good Neighbor program that sold properties back to adjacent private property owners who would then manage the lands themselves, but the program was terminated within a couple of years.

    That Good Neighbor policy went away because our neighbors werent really being that good in terms of performing good conservation values, Donohoe said.

    A home is seen next to an overgrown tract of California Tahoe Conservancy land in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood in South Lake Tahoe on Oct. 15, 2020. (Photo: JASON BEAN)

    Now, Jinkens advocates that policies allowing private homeowners to mitigate fuels around their properties should be considered.

    They dont want to do the job and they dont want to let us do the job, Jinkens said. A good step would be for CTC to adopt a policy similar to the Forest Service to allow people to go onto their property to create fire breaks.

    Jenkins is referring to the USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Units Urban Lot Management Program, which allows homeowners to clear defensible space such as dead and downed trees and pine needles on federally owned urban lots within 100 feet of a residential structure. With additional permitting, residents can perform additional defensible space work including large tree removal and clearing beyond 100 feet from their residence.

    Opinion:NV Energy CEO: Reducing fire risk a top priority

    In late 2019, seven Tahoe Basin fire chiefs echoed Jenkins sentiments when they wrote to the CTC and the Nevada Division of State Lands requesting access for private property owners to implement defensible space measures on state-owned urban lots within 100 feet of residential structures.

    I said no, Donohoe said. We already have problems with people going on our property and removing trees and vegetation illegally for views enhancement and calling it fuel mitigation.

    Schafer agrees theres a problem, but says agencies are working toward solutions.

    One of my goals is every private citizen doesnt have to come to us because we are doing it ourselves, he said. We can, and should, do more. But I dont want to put that responsibility on every citizen to manage the lands. I dont think the solution is you only get defensible space if you make it yourself. We want to make it consistent between every lot in the basin and we are working toward that.

    To address fire concerns on its property, CTC takes two approaches, Schafer said. Neighborhood-wide fuel reduction cleanups are held every five to 10 years in each neighborhood, he said. And, the agency also responds to reports of individual parcel concerns.

    A marker indicating a tract of California Tahoe Conservancy land is seen in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood in South Lake Tahoe on Oct. 15, 2020.(Photo: JASON BEAN)

    About 95% of CTCs properties have had at least one fuel treatment, he said. The agency, as well as many other entities, are a little behind the ball with treatments though because treating for fuel reduction wasnt a major push until the early 2000s. The Angora Fire really pushed that even more. We started treating even more lots.

    In 2019, the CTC treated 467 acres of conservancy land, the most it has treated in a year since 2007.

    Donohoe said 99% of Nevadas properties in the Tahoe basin have received at least one fuel reduction treatment and that many properties have received three to four treatments.

    There is risk in the city and there is risk in the basin of a really significant fire, Schafer said. There is still a lot more that can be done. Residents have done so much, agencies have done so much, but theres so much more we need to do to keep reducing our risk.

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    There are courses of action residents can take besides just waiting for the state to remove dead trees, according to Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Fire Marshall Eric Guevin.

    What we tell our communities is reach out to your fire district and see what you can do with your partners, he said.

    2020 wildfires:16-year-old boy killed in North Complex Fire

    Guevin said if a private resident contacted his fire district, a crew member would visit the homeowner to address the concerns, andif they are valid, help the homeowner connect with the proper state or federal agency to remove the fuel.

    There is a lot of fuel out there. We need to be always aggressive in approaching it. There is a fire threat in the basin, he said. The sky is not falling but we always need to be proactive.

    City of South Lake Tahoe Fire/Rescue Chief Clyde Savacool said he is working with Jenkins to establish a committee with community stakeholders and the CTC to address the issue.

    We want to have a global picture of this entire area and do a site inspection for all these lots. Where is our greatest risk for wildfire, whats going to be our evacuation routes? he said. The goal is leave the city with a wildfire plan that the current or any future administration could follow.

    Say we all left tomorrow, we would be able to hand this plan over and say, here is the wildfire plan to protect South Lake Tahoe.

    Amy Alonzo covers the outdoors, recreation and environment for Nevada and Lake Tahoe.Reach her at aalonzo@gannett.comor (775) 741-8588.Here's how you can support ongoing coverage and local journalism.

    Read or Share this story: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2020/10/19/california-nevada-wildfires-debate-fire-prevention-techniques-tahoe-basin/3642612001/

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    Residents, officials debate how to create a defensible wildfire buffer in the Tahoe Basin - Reno Gazette Journal

    Decades of mismanagement led to choked forests now it’s time to clear them out, fire experts say – NBC News - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Western United States is enduring yet another devastating fire year, with more than 4.1 million acres already scorched in California alone, at least 31 people dead and hundreds of others forced to flee their homes.

    Wildland fires are increasingly following a now-familiar pattern: bigger, hotter and more destructive. A recent Los Angeles Times headline declaring 2020 to be The worst fire season. Again illustrated some of the frustration residents feel over the states fire strategy.

    For decades, federal, state and local agencies have prioritized fire suppression over prevention, pouring billions of dollars into hiring and training firefighters, buying and maintaining firefighting equipment and educating the public on fire safety.

    But as climate change continues to fuel dry conditions in the American West, many experts say its long past time to shift the focus back to managing healthy forests that can better withstand fire and add to a more sustainable future.

    Fires have always been part of our ecosystem, said Mike Rogers, a former Angeles National Forest supervisor and board member of the National Association of Forest Service Retirees. Forest management is a lot like gardening. You have to keep the forest open and thin.

    Federal forest management dates back to the 1870s, when Congress created an office within the U.S. Department of Agriculture tasked with assessing the quality and conditions of forests. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt oversaw the birth of the U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres of public land across the country.

    In California, forest management also falls under the purview of the states Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

    Since 2011, Cal Fire has spent more than $600 million on fire prevention efforts and removed or felled nearly 2 million dead trees. In 2018, California set the goal of treating which can include slashing, burning, sawing or thinning trees 500,000 acres of wildland per year, yet Cal Fire remains far from meeting that target.

    Its an ongoing process, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Christine McMorrow. There is always going to be more work.

    Cal Fire is steadily receiving injections of money to do what it can to reduce wildfire risk, including better land management and training a new generation of foresters. In 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allocate $1 billion over five years to Cal Fire to be used on fire prevention measures. But experts warn that more money is needed.

    Is it enough? Well, its enough for what were doing right now, but is that enough to get all the work that needs to be done in one year or five years or 10 years? Its going to a take lot, McMorrow said.

    Long before the countrys founding, Spanish explorers documented wildland fires in California. In 1542, conquistador Juan Rodrguez Cabrillo sailed along the coast and noticed smoke billowing up from what is now known as the Los Angeles Basin. He called it la baya de los fumos, or the bay of smoke.

    Studies by archaeologists and historians support a theory that Cabrillo might have been witnessing an early form of land management, including the burning of shrubs and chaparral to clear dry brush and promote better conditions for hunting big game.

    Prescribed and controlled burns were integral to the American landscape for generations. In 1910, focus started to shift away from forest management and steer toward fire suppression after The Big Burn ravaged 3 million acres across Washington, Idaho and Montana, killing at least 85 people and reshaping U.S. fire policy for years to come.

    The U.S. Forest Service ordered that all wildland fires be extinguished as soon as possible, eventually settling on the so-called 10 a.m. policy, which emphasized suppressing fires by the morning after they started.

    The states policy to stop fires as soon as they ignite resulted in a backlog of trees in forests now choked with brush and other dry fuels. According to the U.S. Forest Service, one researcher studying the Stanislaus National Forest in Northern California found records from 1911 showing just 19 trees per acre in one section of the forest. More than a century later, the researcher and his team counted 260 trees per acre.

    With denser tree cover comes the danger of bigger fires, Rogers said.

    We have more large trees per acre than weve ever had because they have continued to grow, and underneath these large trees are young shrubs that fuel fires in the crown of the trees, he said. When a fire starts in there, its unstoppable.

    Drought, climate change and bark-beetle infestations have all contributed to the backlog of trees, leaving some experts to push for creative solutions to managing Californias crowded forests.

    One potential solution could be turning dead and diseased trees into biomass energy before they start massive wildfires.

    Jonathan Kusel founded the nonprofit research organization Sierra Institute for Community and Environment in 1993 in an effort to better understand how state and federal agencies could put leftover organic material to use. The institute is now working with federal and state partners on ways to supply wood chips made from low-value vegetation to biomass facilities that can then burn the organic matter to produce heat and electricity.

    Kusel estimates the process, when done correctly in confined barrels, is exponentially cleaner than relying on natural gas for energy. It also facilitates what Kusel calls the appropriate thinning of forests, or the clearing of smaller growth, to not only lower the risk of wildfires, but also to contribute to cleaner waterways and lower carbon emissions by promoting healthier forests.

    We arent going to be successful if all we do is try to stop fire, he said. But we can make it less damaging and we can try to introduce smaller fires that can maintain habitats in a healthy state.

    But finding buyers for biomass remains a big question for the Sierra Institute. Biomass is considered a dirty word among environmentalists who warn that burning plant material and releasing it into the air can increase carbon emissions.

    Removing small growth from forests is also more expensive and not as economically attractive as focusing on large-growth removal that can be turned into timber, Kusel acknowledged. Still, as wildfires threaten to become bigger and more dangerous, Kusel is hopeful that a new locally based biomass market could offset the cost of thinning out the states forests by creating smaller, better-maintained facilities that do not release dangerous pollutants into the air.

    Societally we have to think differently about our forests, but we have to invest and manage them differently, too, he said. We have to do better.

    Read more from the original source:
    Decades of mismanagement led to choked forests now it's time to clear them out, fire experts say - NBC News

    Our View: Barking up the wrong tree – The Union of Grass Valley - October 17, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    It seems like the Nevada City tree issue isnt going to leave anytime soon.

    A groundswell of support for keeping the trees was followed by a local judge granting an injunction to stop PG&E from cutting them. The judge then reversed course and said he didnt have that authority.

    Fast forward a bit and supporters this week climbed into the trees at Pioneer Cemetery as PG&E workers waited nearby. Officers responded to the scene. A police blotter entry states PG&E asked police to move the protesters so it could remove the trees.

    The situation deescalated when the workers left.

    All this makes you wonder what happened to the spirit of compromise around this issue.

    The organizer of the Facebook group Saving Nevada Citys Trees has said he realizes most of the trees have to go. Theres over 260 of them. The group has indicated there are around two dozen of them that should be saved, with about half of those on private land and the other half on city-owned property.

    And everything seemed to be going swimmingly, even with the judges ruling that the trees couldnt come down immediately. There was talk of a working group comprised of several different factions that could reach an agreement.

    Discussion amongst different groups with opposing goals reaching compromise a fever dream realized.

    Now were awake and reality has dealt us a hard lesson.

    As with most problems, no one side holds all the blame, though all can play a role in bringing this situation to a successful conclusion.

    For starters, PG&E could stop trying to cut every tree on its list while crowing about a fiat granted by the Public Utilities Commission. We get it. You have the authority to cut the trees. Now sit down at the negotiating table and work with the other players. Its much wiser to build goodwill in this way instead of burning it up.

    And God knows PG&E could use some goodwill after the debacle of the past two years.

    The Nevada City Council should take a stand instead of meekly ceding power to PG&E. Does it support the trees removal? Then do something about people loitering in trees on city property. Want PG&E to shove off? Then take the issue to a higher court.

    Looking for the middle road? Then help bring everyone to the table. Well all be better for it.

    As for the tree supporters dont say youve done everything you can, so now youre going to sit in a tree and risk arrest. Many of these trees are on city property. If the city wants them gone, thats it. Getting council members on your side is a better, and more effective, method of achieving your goals.

    As for private property owners. Many, if not all, want their trees removed. Thats their business. Theyre not telling you what to do with your property.

    But if tree advocates feel that strongly about it, maybe private property owners would like a seat at that table, too.

    Theres a lot more at stake here than the loss of some trees. There are liability issues when a tree falls during a storm and takes power lines with it. No one wants to go to court to find out whos at fault.

    Lets take a few steps back, take a few breaths and think this through. No side involved in this needs to go to extremes. A working group could reach an agreement, and identify the trees that absolutely must go.

    If this is the route taken, a deadline must be set. Government meetings already can drone on for hours. Put time limits on discussions, and circle a day on the calendar.

    In the meantime, cut the trees everyone agrees need to go. This is a compromise already forged.

    Its worth giving this a shot. Invoking the power of the Public Utilities Commission, or alternatively camping out in trees, doesnt help, and only exacerbates the problem.

    We need to work together on this, instead of barking up the wrong tree.

    The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

    View original post here:
    Our View: Barking up the wrong tree - The Union of Grass Valley

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