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North State DAs alarmed at PG&E ending hazard tree program

A sign marking the Plumas County line.
Jamie Jiang
A sign marking the Plumas County line.

Read the transcript


When a dead tree PG&E should have logged fell on a power line in 2021, it caused the largest single wildfire in California history.

After the fire, prosecutors told the company to aggressively manage trees near its lines.

As NSPR’s Jamie Jiang reports, county officials aren’t impressed with how PG&E has done so far.


PG&E quietly ended its Enhanced Vegetation Management Program, or EVM, last year.

That program aimed to log hundreds of thousands of hazard trees near distribution lines.

Now, PG&E will remove some trees in targeted areas.

But an independent safety monitor expressed skepticism about that approach.

Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister, one of six North State DAs, set the terms of PG&E’s settlement.

HOLLISTER: “Part of the agreement included that they would engage in an enhanced vegetation management.”

Hollister says he and the other DAs were alarmed to learn PG&E would move away from the EVM program.

This isn’t the first time the company hasn’t met Dixie Fire settlement terms for tree clearance.

Last year, an independent monitor reported the EVM program missed some 20 hazard trees.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said he felt “terrified” by the findings.

For NSPR News, I’m Jamie Jiang.

KEN DEVOL, ANCHOR: In an emailed statement, a PG&E spokesperson said it is not possible to identify every tree that may pose a risk. In addition, the statement explained the Enhanced Vegetation Management Program was inefficient.

Jamie was NSPR’s wildfire reporter and Report For America corps member. She covered all things fire, but her main focus was wildfire recovery in the North State. Before NSPR, Jamie was at UCLA, where she dabbled in college radio and briefly worked as a podcast editor at the Daily Bruin.