Funds available for removal of dying trees in El Dorado County |

Funds available for removal of dying trees in El Dorado County

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced earlier this month that El Dorado County received approximately $200,000 — the maximum amount one organization can receive — to assist senior citizens with income limitations to remove dying trees that endanger their residence.

The county, according to a news release, will announce more specifics about the program, such as the criteria for applying, in February after the funds have been received from Cal Fire.

In addition to El Dorado County receiving funding, other organizations in the county (fire safe councils, utility districts, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, etc.) obtained another $868,840. In total, $1,068,838 was awarded to organizations in El Dorado County to remove dead and dying trees and perform fuel treatments.

El Dorado County organizations received the fourth largest amount of Cal Fire grant funding for fiscal year 2016-17. Only Fresno, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, to the south, received more funding.

In October 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed a state of emergency due to tree mortality caused by the conditions of extreme drought and related bark beetle infestations. The proclamation contains 18 distinct actions that direct state agencies, utilities and local governments to remove dead or dying trees in high hazard areas across the entire state of California. The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors proclaimed a local state of emergency due to pervasive tree mortality in March 2016. In May, the supervisors approved the county’s Tree Mortality Hazard Tree Removal Plan.

Data collected by state and federal agencies demonstrates that due to drought conditions and bark beetle infestation, more 102 million trees in California are dead and that tens of millions more are likely to die over the next five to six years. Based on the May 2016 overflight of El Dorado County by the National Forest Service, the county has about 512,000 dead trees. Of those 200,000 are in the Eldorado National Forest.

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