Everyone loves trees. We are fortunate to live in an area that supports a wide variety of trees, which can be among the more appealing features of our homes. Trees add to our quality of life by providing beauty and shade, they serve as wind, noise and visual barriers, they help to improve your home’s energy efficiency, as well as reducing airborne pollutants while bringing in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. Trees also provide food and cover for birds and wildlife.
While trees provide us with many useful things, trees that are not properly cared for may cause serious problems. Trees that touch or fall on power lines can cause wildfires, power outages, property damage, or personal injury. Trees interfering with power lines are one of the leading causes of unscheduled interruptions in electrical services. Unscheduled interruptions in electrical service can also affect traffic lights, residents on life support, and essential public facilities such as hospitals.
Electricity always takes the easiest path to the ground and will travel there through anything that is a conductor. Trees give electricity from power lines a path to the ground.
Trees are excellent conductors because they are 30 to 50 percent water. So if a tree branch touches a power line, electricity will go through the tree to the ground. Whoever touches the tree could be hurt or killed.
Trees also give people a way to get close to power lines. If you climb a tree and touch a power line with your body or with some object, your body gives electricity a path to the ground (through you and the tree). You could be seriously hurt or even killed.
These situations are easily preventable by proper tree pruning and in some instances, removal and replanting of power line friendly trees.