Fire-Ravaged Counties Push PG&E to Remove 200K Charred Logs

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As this year's wildfire play rages, immoderate victims of past year's fires are dealing with an unexpected situation beyond rebuilding - repairing their spot from harm they accidental was caused by PG&E, erstwhile it chopped down burned trees adjacent its powerfulness lines.

Last October, the Glass Fire ripped done the 20-acre ranch wherever Amy Thomason and her hubby raised practice rabbits successful the Santa Rosa hills. It leveled their 1930's compartment arsenic good arsenic the location her parents built nearby. But erstwhile the mates yet returned, they accidental they recovered adjacent much devastation -- caused by PG&E crews.

"They conscionable clear-cut everything, it was conscionable shocking and jarring," said Thomason, a Wine Country firm lawsuit coordinator.

Thomason said the unit didn't conscionable wide charred trees, including 2 200-feet gangly firs that lined the entranceway of what utilized to beryllium their location and were present astatine hazard of falling; they bulldozed fences, ripped up roads and adjacent buried what was near of a World War II vintage Quonset hut.

"They dumped logs connected it, truthful we were incapable to get successful and adjacent find my grandfather's tools," Thomason said, becoming affectional arsenic she described what she considers needless harm connected apical of what the occurrence already took.

She summoned a PG&E supervisor to the country and recorded the gathering connected her compartment phone. "How is it that our spot was allowed to beryllium dumped on?" she asked.

"I perceive what you're saying, and I can't relationship for each of our actions," the supervisor said connected the recording. "I'll instrumentality the work for it but I don't cognize what the logic was."

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Santa Rosa adjunct occurrence marshal Paul Lowenthal said helium knows of dozens of nonmigratory complaints of piles of burned trees and different debris that were near connected their spot by PG&E aft past year's fires.

"You know, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of trees crossed the North Bay were felled," helium said, surveying the stump of what erstwhile was a elephantine eucalyptus connected a parcel of metropolis land. He said PG&E had been hauling distant trees aft the 2017 Wine Country fires and the 2018 Camp Fire, but it abruptly stopped past year, saying removal was present the spot owner's responsibility.

"The measurement of trees, creates not lone a information hazard, but aboriginal wildfire concerns and risks," helium said.

It turns retired the occupation is not constricted to Wine Country. Following the CZU Lightning Complex fires successful the Santa Cruz Mountains past summer, Cal Fire accused the inferior of leaving piles of charred logs and wood debris, arsenic good arsenic gathering makeshift roads that tin lavation retired successful wintertime rains.

Santa Cruz County separately filed a ailment astir PG&E with the state's Public Utilities Commission. While the inferior has since removed the disputed debris and has fixed the roads, it has challenged regulators' authorization to unit it to region the charred logs.

This week, the inferior announced that it had "listened'' to "customer and assemblage requests" successful Wine Country and is present offering to haul distant logs determination for free. But, it said, the regulatory combat is delaying a akin connection successful Santa Cruz, though it is removing immoderate logs determination nether an exigency permit.

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson calls the monolithic logjam "a immense concern."

He says nary 1 should person to prod the inferior to bash the close thing, truthful his assemblage tin rebuild. "Having these logs laying astir each implicit the spot truly doesn't assistance that concern astatine all," helium said.

Thomason says she conscionable got PG&E's cleanable up connection this month, but she had already arranged to region galore of the logs connected her own. She said erstwhile she work it, she saw it comes with a price.

"The good people connected that, you waive each claims whether they're aboriginal oregon presently successful process -- if you let them to travel onto your spot and haul distant the wood," she said. "I'm not letting them travel back."

While the connection waives damages for having chopped down the trees, PG&E’s connection covers harm it mightiness origin portion it removes the charred logs. It says removing an estimated 200,000 remaining logs volition instrumentality until astatine slightest the extremity of summer.

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