Butte Wildfire Recovery

Client: Pacific Gas & Electric Company

Service: Disaster Debris Management


Calaveras County, CA

PJE Role

Prime Contractor

Date Completed

May 2016

Project description

During September of 2015, two massive wildfires (the Valley Wildfire and the Butte Wildfire) began burning in Northern California. Together, the fires burned 146,935 acres of land, destroyed 2,776 structures, and damaged utility infrastructure. P&J was contracted by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to assist with the response and hazard mitigation efforts for the Butte Wildfire in Calaveras County.

PJE's Contribution

P&J provided technical tree felling and debris reduction services within utility right of ways, private property, and other areas impacted by the Butte Wildfire. Immediately following receipt of notice to proceed, P&J mobilized personnel and equipment to San Andreas, California where the base of operation for the project was established.

Because of the challenging terrain and the fact that crews worked in close proximity to power lines, tree felling operations were precisely controlled using ropes and calculated notches and cuts to guide tree fall direction. In some cases, tree climbers were required to remove treetops before they were felled. Reduction crews used cutting, bucking, and grinding methods to reduce felled tree debris.

Project Highlights

trees felled


workers onboarded


felling crews


reduction crews


support crews managed




chunks of debris hauled



lost-time accidents

Phillips & Jordan was also awarded Phase II work for the project. This phase of the project involved log and debris removal within utility right-of-ways on private property, reduction, and disposal services. Phase II required multiple steps inclusive of property owner interaction, sign-up, both -pre and -post assessments and evaluations, and documentation as to the state of the property. Operationally, Specific activities performed by Phillips & Jordan involved removal of unwanted logs and trees from privately-owned properties as requested by owners. Removal crews hauled 3,303 logs and 14,574 chunks of debris to a staging area where they were reduced via chipping or mulching and either delivered to a final disposal site or transported to a co-generation plant where they will be used as recycled fuel to generate power.

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