One of the most beautiful features of the Bitterroot Valley are the countless trees that line our streets, surround our homes and fill our forests. But while trees are an enormous benefit to our scenery, they can wreak havoc on our power supply.
In the summer especially, you might notice times when your lights flash off and on, often referred to as “blinks.” This happens when a foreign object, like a falling tree branch, touches a power line.
If you are noticing blinks more frequently, it may be because trees near your home have gotten overgrown. When tree branches begin growing into the power lines or getting close enough to touch them when the wind blows, this is referred to as trees “burning” in the line. You can usually tell this is happening because trees will turn brown where they come into contact with the power lines and the lines will often turn black.
Here are some measures you can take to ensure trees around your home are not interfering with your power and those around you:
- Tree Planting
Plant trees a safe distance from power lines. Remember, trees grow out as well as up. Prevent future problems for yourself by making good planting decisions now. If your only option is to plant near power lines, stick with bushes and small trees that won’t grow any higher than 10-15′ when fully mature. It’s much better to plan ahead now than to be forced to cut down trees once they begin to mature
- Look Up
If you are noticing power blinks, always report the problem to us right away. Then, take a look around your home for a tree that might be causing the issue. If you are able point our REC linemen in the right direction, they will be able to get your power restored that much more quickly. NEVER attempt to trim trees near power lines yourself.
- Plan Ahead
If you can clearly see trees that will soon become a problem, don’t hesitate to let us know. We like to be able to address issues ahead of time if at all possible.
We understand that our members love their trees (we do too), and we will do everything we can to avoid cutting them down whenever possible, but sometimes it is unavoidable.