Walk through the Hazard Tree Evaluation Process with our Certified Arborists and Foresters



The 2020 September wildfires are one of Oregon’s most devastating disasters in history. The fires burned more than one million acres across the state, destroying thousands of homes and claiming the lives of nine Oregonians. As the smoke settled and cleared, communities were confronted by devastation and loss, with swaths of dead burned trees blocking roads, towering and toppling over highways, and interfering with cleanup efforts. The Wildfire Economic Recovery Council charged the Debris Management Task Force with beginning work immediately to remove debris from nearly 3,000 damaged home sites and the hazardous dead or dying trees surrounding these areas and along public highways.

To accomplish this unprecedented effort, teams of Certified Arborists, Professional Foresters, field technicians and environmental consultants worked together with state and federal land managers and environmental regulators to draft an Environmental Protection Plan This plan established criteria for how to evaluate each tree to determine threat levels.

In this video, Certified Arborists, Foresters and ODOT leadership explain the evaluation process and criteria that are utilized to assess each individual tree in the fire-affected areas.

“The extent and magnitude of damage to these landscapes is heartbreaking,” said Mac Lynde with ODOT and the director of the three-agency Debris Management Task Force. “As Oregonians, we empathize with the understandably emotional reactions and often traumatizing experience of reliving these wildfires upon seeing this loss to the natural landscape. Our objective remains to remove only dead or dying fire-damaged trees posing a threat to human life and safety, and for those trying to rebuild.”

Wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.