Mill Creek Tree Care
Though rare, lightning can pose severe threats to trees, humans, and nearby structures. Luckily, with some basic knowledge, you can minimize risk and keep your trees, property, and loved ones or customers safe.
Lightning is a natural phenomenon - especially here in the Pacific Northwest. However, when thinking about how to best protect our trees, it pays to think through the potential associated risks.
Lightning is drawn to the tallest objects in a given area, which generally includes trees or buildings. In most cases, trees tower above homes and squat buildings, and are the first object to attract lightning. When lightning strikes trees, it generally kills them, or damages them so badly that they cannot be saved. This is the best case scenario - as our team can then safely remove the tree and mitigate any potential hazards.
The real risks are these: if lightning starts a fire, which in turn grows around your home, it's time to call 911 right away. At this point you need firefighters, not arborists. Next, damaged trees could fall on your home, property, or people nearby - especially during the course of a storm. In this instance, paying close attention, or vacating the area may be the safest course of action. Lastly, lightning can jump from trees to more conducive objects (like metal gutters) which are generally attached to your home. One, this can damage gutters and potentially cause flooding - but can also put your home at risk.
The good news is, there are mitigation measures you can take, and that we can assist you with. For one, minimizing debris around your home can help remove fuel should something ignite. This is a fundamental step of fire-proofing, which is discussed here.
Through routine maintenance of trees (including trimming and pruning) you can cut down on the material attached to large trees - especially tall ones. Should they fall, they could do less damage.
You may also consider installing lightning protection on large trees. These systems are simple, and essentially act as lightning rods. They conduct the lightning and energy, and route it down and into the ground through wires. These systems are generally reliable, and can save your trees and your property.
Regardless, know the risks, or give us a call so we can help make an assessment. We're happy to do this type of work when we're in your area. Just let us know! And be safe!