Deal with neighbor’s trees threatening your home

Nearly 15 months after the Valley Fire of 2015 a dead tree snapped in half and crashed thru the roof of their newly constructed home and DESTROYED IT.  Two homes lost in less than 2 years!

At least half of standing dead trees will fall within two years of a wildfire, especially with the help of storms. Not only does this create a danger to people, cars and structures, but it also impedes the emotional recovery. For those people that have left the area, please understand this issue has a significant impact on recovery from the fire storms.

If you face challenges with tree removal, please don’t call the sheriff or county.  You will be told this is a civil matter, not a county matter. They have neither the funding, nor the resources to devote to such a complicated problem.

The key to clearing away the charred remains is to work together with your friends and neighbors.

Here are some helpful guidelines for hazardous tree removal:

  1. Communicate with your neighbors early and often. Talk to your neighbors about their plans for the future. If they have relocated out of the area, their new address can be found at the assessor’s office at the County courthouse. Let them know that the dead trees on their property are depressing the neighborhood, and are now considered hazardous. They can be held liable for any damage caused by the trees on their property.  BUT they could be eligible for the free tree removal programs.
  2. Address the hazardous trees before construction begins. Before anything new is built, have the trees removed, especially on your own property. New construction greatly complicates tree removal, and some free programs are not available if construction has begun. If the trees are not on your property, contact your neighbor to develop a plan. Here is a list of free local programs and resources.
  3. Complications with Neighbors If your neighbor is unwilling to remove their hazardous trees, and the trees could potentially cause harm to your family, work crews and new home, write them a letter explaining that they hold full legal responsibility for any damage, injury or death that occurs as a result of their hazardous tree falling on your property. If there is still no response, seek legal council. Keep a detailed record of all conversations and correspondence, and send all letters via certified mail with return address to verify receipt.

The following is a list for tree management options that are specific to Lake County which include:

  • Tree Falling and Removal Service
  • Burn Permits and Information
  • Sawmill Service
  • Chipping Program
  • Firewood and Log Removal
  • Legal Services

Some of the services in the above link will help Mendocino and Sonoma County.


* Credit for this article to Cobb Area Council for their hazardous
tree removal advice and leading the way to recovery!


~*~ Updated Nov. 30, 2017 ~*~
Together we can help each other with valuable advice that needs to be shared to protect our homes and our foundation to thrive.


No story is told if there is no lesson.
Be informed. Choose wisely.

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