Who cleans up Boise tree branches, limbs after thunderstorm?

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Two evenings of violent thunderstorms in the last week have left their mark on downtown Boise and the surrounding areas, with downed trees and branches trashing yards and streets.

More than 1,500 Idaho Power customers in Boise were affected by power outages Wednesday, with the National Weather Service reporting several downed trees across the city.

️ Heavy gusts of wind have caused widespread tree damage, with many trees falling on roads in the greater Boise area. For evening commutes, slow down and be more careful and please report any damage. #idwx #orwx pic.twitter.com/TvtHgzytJK

— NWS Boise (@NWSBoise) June 7, 2023

A few days after a storm, many Boise residents may be asking themselves: Who exactly is cleaning up all the chaos?

Boise North End residents woke up on Monday, May 9, 2022 to an unusual spring snowstorm.  Neighborhood streets and lots are littered with fallen branches, like this one on West Lemp Street. Boise North End residents woke up on Monday, May 9, 2022 to an unusual spring snowstorm. Neighborhood streets and lots are littered with fallen branches, like this one on West Lemp Street. Dana Oland doland@idahostatesman.com

A joint effort

Boise Community Forestry, Ada County Highway District and Idaho Power are all caught in open debris after a severe storm.

If there is something on your lawn, it is probably your responsibility to pick it up. Boise Community Foresty ranger Mike Andrews said the best thing you can do is gather up all of the branches, twigs and branches on your property and place them at the curb. The forest group will get them as soon as possible.

“Between our agency — us as a city with the forestry department — ACHD and these private companies, it seems like they can all handle any size (branch) and scrub that gets in their way,” Andrews told the Statesman.

Andrews’ team has primarily focused on the North End, he said, laying regular routes through the area and grabbing or chopping down branches left by the road.

Boise Community Forestry also offers a list of licensed tree care services on its website. These are private companies that have certified arborists and are inspected and approved by the city.

“We’ve given them the opportunity to work on trees immediately if needed,” Andrews said, “because we feel they’re doing safe, quality work.”

ACHD spokeswoman Rachel Bjornstad told the Statesman that anyone who sees fallen trees and large branches on roads should contact the highway department at 387-6100 or online to request removal. You can also attach an image to the form there.

The City of Boise is responsible for trees that fall in Boise’s parks.

Failed power lines and outages

Idaho Power is responsible for cleaning up and removing fallen limbs that have caused damage to or are adjacent to power lines. The utility reported at least three separate outages across the Boise area on Monday, one of which affected over 1,000 downtown customers.

Rodriguez said anyone experiencing a power outage or knowing of damage to the power line should contact Idaho Power at 388-2323 or report an outage on their website.

While the company cleans up limbs and limbs that directly affect its lines, Idaho Power leaves the rest of the cleanup to other local services. The company offers a year-round vegetation management program and hires a cleaning contractor to prune trees and bushes that can cause problems.

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