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Frustrations over tree removal program in Paradise

Some people in Paradise are frustrated over the way tree removal is being handled. Action News Now spoke to Town Councilman, Steve Culleton about his frustrations, and took them to Cal OES to see their response.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 8:50 AM
Updated: Jan 8, 2021 10:33 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - Some people in Paradise are frustrated over the way tree removal is being handled.

"We are being burdened again, those of us that are victims in the fire are being burdened again by more government ineptness," said Steve Culleton.

Steve Culleton is a Camp Fire survivor who says because trees weren't removed quickly, they are now getting snapped from the wind... and then says those trees are not going to be removed.

"FEMA allotted the money to do this, they had an estimated 300,000 trees, and now they have paired down to 100,000 or 75,000 or whatever it is. They have already allocated the money," said Culleton.

The frustration is about the trees that have blue dots on them and are snapped halfway down.

Because the weather has already broken them, there is no guarantee they will be removed, even though they were marked in the original tree removal program.

"Before we have a chance to remove it and it has come down by weather, it needs to be assessed to see if it is still a threat to the public right of way. If it is still a threat it will be removed," said Jim Kyle from Cal OES. 

"That is my point, you allocated the money, it is not about some budget thing. You identified the trees, you mapped them, you had arborists certify they are dead. You tagged them, you marked them they are ready to go, your program got delayed, so now it is winter time and now we have winds and wet dirt, and some of them are falling over. You still have to haul it off, why would you put it on the homeowner," said Culleton.

"It stands the most threat while it is still standing, and coming down. If it is already down it is a new story, we have to see if it is still a threat or not," said Kyle. 

Culleton added during the tree removal process, the stump is still left and the homeowner has to deal with it.

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