PG&E removes drought-stricken trees at Bass Lake

Bass Lake, Calif. - According to the US Forest Service more than six million trees have been killed in our local forests due to the drought and bark beetle. The trees have the potential to fall on power lines and homes. That is why PG&E is taking extra precautions in removing those trees at Bass Lake.

From the streets below people at Bass Lake can't help but to look up.

"The buzz of the saws and cranes working," Says Bass Lake homeowner Marc Sobel."They are very busy in this community."

Residents watch crews slowly cut down the brown trees in the area.

"Either they are going to burn or they are going to fall," Says Sobel. "It is a ticking time bomb."

He is happy to see 1200 drought-stricken dead trees go.

"It is important to save our community from wildfires these trees are going to comedown one way or another."

"Our commitment here is public safety." Says PG&E Vegetation Plan Manager Corey Peters.

From the tree tops its easy to spot the dead trees throughout the Sierra Nevada Forest.

"The significant mortality is due to the four consecutive years of drought that have weakened the trees and made them more susceptible to beetle invasion or attack." Says Peters.

He says the proximity of the lifeless trees to power lines is a recipe for disaster. They can fall on power lines and homes and even ignite a blaze.

"We want to protect our electric facilities but we also want protect the community that we serve." He adds.

In some areas the bark beetle has killed 85% of forests. He says PG&E is surveying the local mountains twice as much to see what needs to be taken out. Tree removal crews, hired by PG&E, will be working through the end of November.

"Frankly I'm real grateful to them and their efforts."

Although to some the noise and crews in the area may be a burden, Sobel says he knows it is worth it.

"It is a small price to pay to save our community." Says Sobel.

The wood from the trees will head to the North Fork Mill or they will be given to residents for firewood.

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