AUGUSTA – In the aftermath of this weekend’s severe weather, residents across Maine will restore power, clear debris, and get their lives back to normal. While safety and recovery are top priorities, it’s crucial to remember that everyone involved in storm cleanup can play a vital role in keeping Maine’s forests healthy and resilient.
After power and other utilities have been restored, property owners often face the challenge of what to do with storm-damaged trees. To assist with this, Project Canopy, a Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Maine Forest Service (MFS) program, offers valuable guidance and helpful tips to property owners with questions about handling downed trees, limbs, and branches.
Trees and Branches Around Homes and Power Lines:
– Homeowners are encouraged to promptly address downed trees and branches, especially those affecting homes and power lines.
– For trees entangled with power lines, it is essential to contact local power companies for assistance. Even if a fallen limb is not near power or utility wires, it’s advisable to rely on professionals to assess the extent of the damage before attempting repairs or removal.
– For trees or large branches threatening or impacting homes or businesses, enlist the help of a reputable licensed arborist to take care of cleanup. Arborists are trained tree care professionals with the skills to evaluate and rectify storm-damaged trees.
Injured Trees Requiring Climbing or Chainsaw Work:
– In cases where storm-damaged trees require climbing or chainsaw work, homeowners are urged to work with licensed arborists. They can determine how much of a tree can or should be salvaged.
– Beware of fly-by-night emergency tree-cutting services, and always request proof of licensing, insurance, and references. The Maine DACF Division of Animal and Plant Health Arborist Program provides more information about working with arborists.
Protecting Maine’s Forests:
– The MFS stresses that woody debris from storm damage may harbor harmful insects or diseases that threaten our forests. Transporting this debris over long distances can unintentionally spread pests to new areas.
– Please be aware of quarantine regulations that may impact the movement of some woody storm debris, such as ash trees within the Emerald Ash Borer Regulated Area, larch from areas within the European Larch Canker quarantine, and hemlock branch or top material from regions within the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid quarantine.
– Severe storms can also reveal the presence of invasive forest pests like the Asian longhorned beetle or hemlock woolly adelgid. If you suspect damage from such pests, take photos and share them with the MFS to aid in pest management efforts.
Storm Preparedness Resources:
In addition to responsible storm cleanup, being prepared for storms is vital. Here are some resources to help you stay informed and ready:
Maine.Gov Alerts: Subscribe for storm warnings, bulletins, and other urgent updates.
FEMA and MEMA: Connect with county and local emergency management contacts and stay updated via social media.
Small Business Administration (SBA): Find guidance and support for businesses before and after emergency events.
Maine Prepares Resources: Explore home, business, and community emergency planning.