One of the worst wildfires in Texas history struck Bastrop County last year, burning more than 34,000 acres and damaging more than 1 million trees. Bluebonnet has 252 miles of power lines in the fire-damaged area and there are thousands of trees near them. Almost immediately after the fire started, we had expert arborists in the field identifying and marking trees that posed a potential hazard to our power lines – two stripes for immediate danger, one stripe for possible danger.
Bluebonnet’s contract tree-trimming crews worked around the clock daily to remove the trees that posed immediate danger. Trees were marked with one stripe if they had a 70 percent or greater chance of dying. For the past nine months we have been working with members and landowners to remove trees marked with one stripe that died.
Recently, marked trees as well as trees that were not marked during the initial surveying have begun to die. Arborists will soon be back in the field examining and marking trees near power lines in the fire-damaged area. While in the field, they will talk to property owners about what they’re doing and why they are there.
Bluebonnet’s goal is to identify trees that could fall and damage lines, cause outages and potentially start another fire. The survey will begin this week and is expected to be completed in July. Once complete, we will use the information to develop a strategy to reduce the risk to our power lines and equipment while preserving the region’s natural habitat.