Camp Fire Recovery

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Cal OES, and other state and local partners, continue coordinating with FEMA on eligibility criteria regarding hazardous, fire-damaged trees along legal rights-of-way throughout Butte County following the Camp Fire.
 
In the meantime, it’s important for all property owners to fill out a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form to enroll in the mandatory hazard tree removal program - either the State or Private Tree Removal Program. 

What is a Hazard Tree?


To help better understand the issue of hazardous trees, professional foresters walk us through how fire-damaged trees pose a threat even when they appear healthy.


Frequently Asked Questions​

Hazard Tree Removal on Private Property

1. What is considered a Hazard Tree?

For the purposes of Hazard Tree removal on Private Property, a Hazard Tree is a tree on private
property that is so severely damaged by the Camp Fire that its structural integrity is compromised
and it poses an imminent danger of falling onto a public right-of-way or other public improved
property. For these purposes, “imminent danger” means within five years.

2. How will I know if Hazard Tree removal is required on my property?

Hazard Tree removal is required on all private property where Hazard Trees pose a threat of falling
onto a public right-of-way or other public improved property. Property owners may sign up for:
1. The State Hazard Tree Removal Program; or
2. The Private Hazard Tree Removal Program.
Property owners who have already removed Hazard Trees must complete an Inspection Access Form so an inspector can confirm Hazard Tree removal is complete.

A map will be posted online at the Butte County Recovers website, to show which parcels require enrollment in a Hazard Tree Removal Program.

3. Is the Hazard Tree removal only required for properties where structures were damaged or
destroyed?

No. Hazard Tree removal is required on all private property where Hazard Trees pose a threat of falling onto a public right-of-way or other public improved property. This may include properties where structures remain, but trees burned in the Camp Fire.

4. What are my options for removing hazard trees on my property?

Removal of hazard trees is mandatory. Property owners may either sign up for the State Hazard Tree Removal Program or participate in Private Hazard Tree Removal Program. To participate in the State Hazard Tree Removal Program, property owners must submit a Tree Right-of Entry (ROE) form to be eligible for the program. Property owners who want to identify and remove their own trees must submit an Inspection Access Form so an inspector can confirm Hazard Trees removal is complete.

Private Hazard Tree Removal Program Enrollment/Process

1. What is the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program?

The Private Hazard Tree Removal Program is an alternative to the State Hazard Tree Removal Program that allows the property owner the option to identify and remove Hazard Trees on their property at their own cost. Property owners must enter either the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program or the Government Hazard Tree Removal Program to register their intent to remove Hazard Trees.

2. What do I need to do to enroll in the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program?

Property owners must submit a completed Inspection Access Form to enroll. The form provides a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) access to the property to conduct an inspection once the property owner removes all Hazard Trees. The inspection is conducted to confirm all Hazard Trees have been removed and the property complies with local ordinances.

3. What happens once I enter the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program by submitting the Inspection Access Form?

The property owner identifies and fells the Hazard Trees, and then removes or utilizes the timber from the Hazard Trees. The property owner requests an inspection to confirm all Hazard Trees have been removed and the property complies with local ordinances.

Note: The Hazard Tree Removal Program is newly approved and inspectors are not yet available to
perform inspections for the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program. The County will notify property
owners enrolled in the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program when inspections are available.

4. Can I remove my own trees?

Yes. Property owners must identify and fell the Hazard Trees on their property, and then remove or utilize the timber from the Hazard Trees.

5. I already removed my trees, why do I have to enter a program?

Enrollment in the Private Hazard Tree Removal Program is required by submitting an Inspection Access Form so an inspector may confirm all Hazard Trees have been removed.

6. Can I keep the timber after the Hazard Trees are felled?

Yes. Property owners may use the timber, and must meet setbacks for timber prior to using it on the property. Foliage, slash, tree branches, limbs, and chipped or mulched vegetation must be used in a way that they do not become a fire hazard. For Town parcels, firewood must be neatly stacked and ready for use in a standard size fireplace and must be setback at least 10 feet from any building or structure. If a property owner utilizes felled Hazard Trees for wood chips, the wood chips must be spread to a depth of not greater than 3 inches with a setback of not less than 100 feet from a building or structure.

State Hazard Tree Removal Program Enrollment/Process

1. What is the State Hazard Tree Removal Program?

The State Hazard Tree Removal Program is a new, separate phase of Recovery that follows the Consolidated Debris Removal Program. This effort ensures the public road transportation corridors have a reduction in hazard trees to provide a safe environment for the traveling public during normal, day-to-day travel and emergency situations.

2. What do I need to do?

To sign up for the State Hazard Tree Removal Program, you will complete a Tree Right-of-Entry (ROE) form to grant government contractors access to your property to conduct the hazard tree evaluation and removal. Please provide insurance information with the Tree ROE as applicable. Visit the Butte County Recovery Tree Removal page  to download the Tree ROE.

Submit at these locations:

​RETURN VIA MAIL ONLY:
Butte County Tree ROE Center
205 Mira Loma Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

RETURN IN PERSON ONLY:
Building Resiliency Center
6925 Skyway Road
Paradise, CA
Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.​


Or email to TREEROE@buttecounty.net

4. Who determines if the trees on my property are hazard trees and must be removed?

A Registered Professional Forester (RPF), or authorized State Program designee, will determine which trees are a hazard to the public. Just because a tree looks healthy, alive and may have green in the canopy, does not mean it is not already dead, dying or a threat to public safety.

5. When will my hazard trees be assessed?

Once the Tree ROE has been received by the State, an assessment team, including a Registered Professional Forester or authorized designee, will come out to evaluate the trees on properties. If the property owner would like to be present during the tree evaluation process, that must be noted on the Tree ROE. Those who have requested pre-notification on the Tree ROE form will be notified by phone (or by whatever contact method is listed on the Tree ROE) by State contractors, 24 to 48 hours prior to tree evaluation team entering the property to conduct evaluations.

6. What if I do not want all of the trees removed that are marked as hazard trees?

All trees that have been marked by the State Program RPF, or designee, as a hazard will need to be removed according to the Town and County Ordinances.

7. After hazard trees are removed, what are the next steps?

Once hazard trees are removed, a final site-walk of the property will be conducted to ensure all marked and qualified trees have been removed, and any erosion control determined necessary by the program has been installed. The property will then be returned to the County to process back to the property owners.

8. Will the State Hazard Tree Removal Program remove stumps and other remnants from the tree removal such as limbs, sawdust, and brush?

Limbs from the felled hazard trees will be removed from the parcel. If erosion control will be required due to the removal of the tree, those limbs will be chipped and spread on site. However, stumps will remain, but will be no higher than approximately 6 inches above the soil line.

9. Will the trees be removed from my property once they are felled?

All hazard trees felled as part of the State Hazard Tree Removal Program will be removed from the property, but some incidental material such as limbs, sawdust and brush may remain.

10. Can I request to keep the timber once the trees are felled?

The State Hazard Tree Removal Program does not allow you to keep your trees that have been felled.

11. Does inclement weather delay hazard tree removal?

Yes. To ensure the safety of the public and crews working to remove the hazard trees, inclement weather may delay progress on tree removal.

12. If the contractor damages my property while removing hazard trees, where do I submit a claim?

Per Section 5 in the Tree ROE, the property owner acknowledges that the Government is not liable for any claim based on the activities of the program. By signing the Tree ROE, the property owner agrees to hold harmless the Government from all liability for any damage or loss that may occur during or after activities in the State Hazard Tree Removal Program. However, you can still fill out a claim at 900 Fortress St, Suite 200, Chico, for consideration.

13. My property has hazard trees, can I go back onto my property?

Per Section 13 of the Tree ROE, the property owner or others may reside on the property before and during the removal of hazard trees. By residing on the property, the owner accepts any risk or inconvenience that may result in the choice to remain on the property during the program. If the owner chooses to remain on the property during the State Hazard Tree Removal Program, the owner shall comply with any and all requests from the State Hazard Tree Removal Program, including leaving the property during program activities.

14. Can a property owner(s) be present during hazard tree evaluation on their personal property?

Yes. By signing the Tree ROE, however, the owner agrees that the methodology for identifying and removing hazard trees, selection of personnel to identify hazard trees, is at the sole discretion of the State Hazard Tree Removal Program. The owner may not contest the identification and/or removal of hazard trees (see Section 5 of Tree ROE).

15. Can a property owner(s) be present during hazard tree removal on their personal property?

Generally, yes. By signing the Tree ROE, however, the owner agrees that the methodology for identifying and removing hazard trees, selection of personnel to identify hazard trees, is at the sole discretion of the State Hazard Tree Removal Program. The owner may not contest the identification and/or removal of hazard trees (see Section 5 of Tree ROE). Additionally, the owner must comply with all State Hazard Tree Removal Program direction that may include absenting themselves from the property during program activities. (Section 13 of Tree ROE).

16. How is the Tree Removal Incident Management Team protecting rivers, streams and aquifers from contamination?

The Tree Removal Incident Management Team will use best management practices to prevent off-site erosion such as use of erosion control devices around storm drains and containing biomass products from tree removal with tarps on-site or in truck transport off-site. Transport of timber and biomass products to market are regulated by the federal Department of Transportation, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the State Hazard Tree Removal Program contractors will be required to comply with their regulations.

17. Who ensures compliance with worker safety regulations?

The Tree Removal Incident Management Team safety professionals and contractor safety staff ensure work is in compliance with all OSHA, Cal/OSHA, and applicable state and federal safety laws, regulations, and management practices. Trucks used to transport timber and biomass products will be DOT safety inspected prior to being included in the operation and will be inspected periodically during the operation.

18. What safety and environmental regulations are contractors required to comply with?

The Tree Removal Incident Management Team and its contractors are required to comply with all local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations. If there are differences between these laws or regulations, compliance with the most stringent regulation will be required.

State Hazard Tree Removal Program Payment and Insurance Related Questions

19. Who will pay for the tree removal?

The Government will pay the costs of tree removal under the Government Hazard Tree Removal Program. However, if property owners have homeowner's insurance covering tree removal, owners must inform local officials by indicating that coverage on their Tree ROE. Homeowners may be required to remit that portion of their insurance proceeds specifically reserved for trees.

20. If I have homeowner's insurance, can I still participate in the State Hazard Tree Removal Program?

Yes. However, to avoid a duplication of benefits provided by the state or federal government, your insurance company may be required to provide payment from your insurance policy designated for tree removal to the government.

21. Will the State Hazard Tree Removal Program reimburse me if I already removed hazard trees from my property?

No. If a property owner chooses to hire a private licensed timber operator, the property owner is responsible for the cost of removal and liability.

* Government is defined as “Butte County and Town of Paradise and their officers, employees, agencies, and independent contractors (“County”), the State of California and its officers, employees, agencies, and independent contractors (“State”), and the Federal Government and its officers, employees, agencies, and independent contractors (“Federal Government”).”

 

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