Drought Watch: Dead Tree Fines - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Drought Watch: Dead Tree Fines

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Unseasonably warm temperatures and serious lack of rain are giving property owners additional grief. Trees are dying and in some cases falling down. Tree limbs and debris can be found in yards all over, and the city says that needs to be cleaned up or a fine will be issued. I spoke with Kevin Hugman, Assistant City Manager for Wichita Falls, he said "If a tree does fall down or if they cut it down and leave the branches and the debris laying around, then it can fall under our ordinance for debris, rubbish, and trash. And they can be issued a citation for that if they don't clean that up". The city will issue a notice and try to work with property owners, but if the problem continues the courts will issue a hefty fine. The first citation can be as much as 300 dollars, that fine includes court costs.

Dead trees pose a serious risk of falling. Storms or simply high winds can easily uproot dead trees, snap them, or cause them to topple over. Trees weigh thousands of pounds and can crush cars, roofs, or people when they fall. To avoid injury or damage it is recommended that owners have the trees cut down, especially to avoid being held liable for damages. Tree removal services can be expensive but there's plenty of low cost ways to keep your yard free of debris. Hugman says, you can put them in the trash can if they fit, or the green cart. Property owners can also take them to the transfer station as long as the debris is covered so it doesn't blow around. Or, take limbs and debris all the way to the landfill if they want. 

For more information on city ordinances go to http://www.wichitafallstx.gov/. Or if you have any questions on code enforcement call 940-761-8841.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six

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