Beginning Monday, January 24, the City of Santa Paula, with the assistance of Master Arborists, will be pruning and removing trees along Cemetery Road between Santa Barbara Street to Main Street. With California’s ongoing drought and intensifying fire season, removing overgrown plant life is not only a safety measure, but a way to protect Santa Paula residents, preserve the region and reduce the impacts of wind and fire events.
Most of the trees along Cemetery Road are invasive eucalyptus trees which have effects on fire danger, native plants and wildlife. These trees are excessively dry, presenting a real and dangerous fire hazard to nearby residents. If the existing trees remain, this could allow for potential wildfires to spread more easily throughout the city, which is why the City was awarded a CAL FIRE grant to assist with this project.
The City’s tree trimming and removal project is funded in part by its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds of which Council set aside $111,000. The City of Santa Paula received approximately $7.1M in ARPA funds from the federal government to aid our community in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the initial phase of the tree removal and pruning process is complete, the City of Santa Paula will continue hazardous fuel reduction measures to the trees along Cemetery Road between Santa Barbara Street to West Santa Paula Street. This second phase of the program will be funded by the City’s $300,000 CAL FIRE grant. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) awarded the City of Santa Paula its Climate Investments Fire Prevention Grant to mitigate fire risk. In addition to removing the trees along Cemetery Road that present significant fire hazard to the area, the City plans to use this grant to remove eucalyptus trees within the City that lead to hotter and more dangerous fires. Additionally, the City is working closely with the Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council to address the eucalyptus trees north of West Santa Paula Street.
The Santa Paula City Council recently made a firm commitment to improving the health and wellness of our local trees and has set aside goals for new tree plantings, increased tree care, and, when absolutely necessary, hazardous tree removals. While the removal of decaying trees and dying branches protects residents of safety and fire dangers, the City is planning to help plant 65 young, healthy trees throughout the City at its next Santa Paula Beautiful volunteering event. The City will also be holding its annual Arbor Day celebration on March 12 at Las Piedras Park and is currently in the process of earning a Tree City USA designation.