Kern County has thousands of dead and dying trees that are threatening public safety and infrastructure. The County is taking action to work towards mitigating hazardous dead trees in the following ways:   

•    On April 5, 2016 the Board of Supervisors proclaimed a Local State of Emergency due to pervasive tree mortality. 
•    On October 30, 2015 Governor Brown issued a State of Emergency proclamation.  This proclamation recognizes and addresses the need for the removal of dead and dying trees throughout the State.
Tree Mortality Task Force

The Kern County Tree Mortality Task Force was assembled to develop a response plan for removing dead and dying hazard trees. The goal of the Task Force is to collaborate with local, as well as private, and public partners to identify and remove dead and dying trees which threaten public safety and infrastructure (power lines, water systems, roads/highways, communication lines, etc.). County staff continue to work towards mitigating the threat of dead and dying trees with our partners. The first step is to identify and prioritize areas where dead trees need to be removed to protect public infrastructure.

Supervisor Scrivner and the Kern County Fire Department are members of the Governor's Tree Mortality Task Force. This task force meets on a monthly basis and provides a forum for coordination and information sharing among local, state, federal, private and non-profit agencies in an effort to ensure public safety and continuity of essential services from the threat of tree mortality across the State of California.

Tree Mortality Coordination Efforts

There are a number of tree removal efforts taking place in Kern County and these will continue as new dead trees are identified and funding is obtained. Below is an outline of the various projects to remove trees around Kern County.

•    State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund grants were secured in 2015 for Bear Valley Springs, the Frazier Mt. Park area, and the Alpine Forest Park area.  These projects will utilize both private contractors and Kern County Fire Department personnel. 
•    Utility companies have been removing a large number of trees that threaten their infrastructure, especially in Bear Valley Springs and Alta Sierra.
•    Cal Trans has removed trees along State highways such as Highway 155 near Greenhorn Summit.
•    Private landowners have hired contractors to remove many dead trees that threaten their homes.

Kern County will continue to apply for additional grants to remove dead trees and treat other hazardous fuels.  These projects, which can cost thousands of dollars per acre, can be prohibitively expensive for landowners.  Landowners who wish to have trees removed or fuels treated through one of these grants will be required to sign a Right-of-Entry form that’s limits the liability of the County of Kern and it’s contractors. 

Private landowners can also get financial assistance to remove trees and replant through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  

Landowners in the State designated tree mortality zone who wish to have trees removed (conifers only) or fuels treated through one of these grants will be required to sign a Right-of-Entry form that’s limits the liability of the County of Kern and it’s contractors.

Additional Links

A Forest Without Trees

Cal Fire Tree Mortality Information

Cal Fire Tree Notes - Managing Bark Beetles in Urban and Rural Trees

California Forest Stewardship Helpline Information

California Tree Mortality Task Force on Facebook

Contracting for Tree Removal - Frequently Asked Questions

Home/Residential Insurance & Wildfire FAQs - Information from the California Department of Insurance

Ready for Wildfire - Cal Fire

Tree Mortality: Seeing is Believing - Blog written by CSAC President Richard Forster



The California Bark Beetle Epidemic

Tree Mortality: 29 Million & Counting


These resources made available to you from the County and its partner agencies. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact:

Jeff Gletne
Kern County Fire Department
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(661) 391-7075

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