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Tree-Trimming Budget Cuts May Slow Fire Trucks

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WOODLAND HILLS (CBS) — Fire engines and other emergency vehicles may face delays due to cutbacks in the city’s tree-trimming schedule, officials said Tuesday.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports cutbacks have left low-hanging branches blocking many of the city’s streets and potentially delaying emergency response times.

The Bureau of Street Services Urban Forestry division said recent budget cuts have reduced funding for tree maintenance by over $1 million.

Those cuts have delayed the city’s trimming schedule from about every 10 years to as long as 40 years — just one of the many services cut by the City Council in an effort to balance the budget.

Ronald Lorenzen, assistant chief forester, warned the lengthened trimming schedule has left some streets impeded by low-hanging branches.

One local resident said his own San Fernando Valley neighborhood is already overgrown.

“By the trees being old, the limbs just fall off, anytime they could fall off,” he said. “It’s dangerous for people ’cause they do a lot of walking up and down the street where I live.”

Financially-strapped fire departments issued warnings this week to residents about preparing for a potentially devastating summer fire season due to recent cutbacks coupled with a warmer and drier forecast.

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