COLORADO SPRINGS — This weekend's heavy, wet snow storm left a lot of downed trees and fallen branches across Colorado springs. On Monday, the City Forester said it's going to take about six months to clean everything up.
Dennis Will, the city forester, gave an update about the storm damage and clean-up efforts. He said so far, thousands of tons of trees have been brought to the Forestry Operations Center since this weekend.
“This is just the beginning of the material that's starting to come in from all across the city,” said Will. “We're going to be super busy. This material that's out on the ground, it'll probably take us six months to clean it up. We can't catch a break because we just finished cleaning up the storm from December 15.”
Will said the city has gotten more than 400 phone calls so far about tree and branch removal, and more than 300 requests through the city’s GoCOS! Website. More than 130 tree and branch removal tasks have been assigned to crews, and of that, just under a dozen have been completed.
Most of the damage is in central Colorado Springs — south of Fillmore, west of Academy, to the west side of town, and south to Cimarron.
“It's kind of centralized in the older neighborhoods of town, and that's where our crews are deployed right now. We have some parks staff helping forestry as well as public works so it's kind of an all hands on deck kind,” said Will.
Four crews, with 10 arborists are helping with cleanup. A lot of damage also happened in neighborhoods in Old Colorado City and near Bancroft Park. From just about any corner, you’ll see large piles of trees and branches on neighborhood streets.
Caleb Krull owns a home in that area.
“It's sad to see you know. Colorado springs had some beautiful scenery and landscaping all around,” said Krull. “But Saturday morning around 8am, we went out and trees, our branches had already fallen, limbs were already starting to creak and drooped down. So we went out and started shaking the snow off of the branches and pulling the broken limbs out of the street.”
High priority areas that crews are focusing on are any branches that are broken and still hanging, and branches on vehicles. Will advises leaving cleanups like this, to be handled by the city crews who are professionals.
Meanwhile homeowners can help by pulling branches out of the street and moving them out of the way, between the curb and sidewalk.
“We're just helping get some some trees trimmed up, and helping our family and friends out with getting getting their trees cleaned up as well,” said Krull.
Will is also encouraging homeowners to be patient as crews make their rounds. Crews will be working five, ten-hour days this week, and possibly working a day this weekend too.
Keep in mind, home owners are responsible for clearing out trees on your private property. Meanwhile, the city is responsible for clearing out trees on public land.
Any trees taken to the Forestry Operations Center, get grinded up into mulch. The mulch can be picked up by the public for free.