Tree removal companies ready for Sandy
By Bruce Edwards
STAFF WRITER | October 30,2012
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
A fire truck lights up a power line that was on fire on Route 4a in Ira on Monday evening during Hurricane Stacy. The Ira and West Rutland fire departments responded.
Sandy — with its strong winds that are due to hit Vermont with a vengeance — is likely to keep the state’s tree removal companies busy for days to come.
Vaillancourt Tree-Landscape Service has 10, two-person crews ready to respond to the storm, Sam Drake, Vaillancourt’s vice president, said Monday.
Drake said several of his crews will be standing by to assist Green Mountain Power Corp. in clearing power lines.
“We usually help the utility first to get all the power back on,” Drake said. “But if someone has a real bad tree, like a tree on a house or something, an emergency, we usually try to get to them, too.”
With gusts forecast up to 80 mph in some parts of Vermont, including Rutland County, Drake said safety comes first.
That means if it’s unsafe his crews will wait until the wind subsides before clearing any power lines.
“It all depends on how bad a situation they’re in,” he said.
Although Sandy is considered a monster storm, Drake said in the past Vermont has experienced some pretty bad ice storms.
He said Tropical Storm Irene last year generated far more water than wind damage.
With offices in Pittsford and Hinesburg, Vaillancourt covers an area from Bennington to the Canadian border.
Mike Fallis, president of Limbwalker Tree Service in Castleton, expects he and his three crews will be busy cleaning up fallen trees and branches at homes and businesses.
Like Vaillancourt, Fallis said that means safety is a priority.
“Really, when a storm comes through, it’s really a matter of talking to your employees, making sure they know how to work safely, going over live wires and traffic control,” said Fallis, who has 18 years experience in the business. “Sometimes that stuff gets forgotten in the rush to get things done.”
In most cases, he said he won’t send out his crews until the worst of a storm has passed.
Fallis said he has already gotten a few phone calls inquiring about Sandy-related cleanup.
Limbwalker doesn’t do utility work, but will clear branches from a “drop” line running from a utility pole to a home or business.
Fallis said how many trees get uprooted from Sandy’s winds will depend in part on how wet the ground is. He said evergreens are more susceptible to uprooting because evergreens retain their leaves and needles, absorbing the force of the wind. On the other hand, he said deciduous trees have already lost their leaves.
Limbwalker covers an area from Lake St. Catherine to Grand Isle, with two of the three crews working out of a branch office in Shelburne.