30. Trees Are a Threat

The mountain town of Canton is at an of 6,000 feet. It is surrounded by thick and pine trees. Because of six years of , these plants are a major fire hazard. Thousands trees and tons of underbrush are going to removed over the next five years at a cost of $3 million. The brush will be first, then the trees will be toppled and . A cleared nonflammable area will then safely surround town of 4,000.
Residents look forward to the , because it will help their town survive a inferno. “But there are two problems,” said one . “All the extra trucks are going to make pretty bad. Once the area is cleared, we to make sure dirt bikers don’t try to the cleared area their personal playground.”
A recent burned 4,000 acres and destroyed 11 homes in Hamilton. The fire was raging toward Canton, but sudden rainstorm put it out. Residents know that won’t get lucky twice, so they are looking to this massive clearing operation.
Ninety percent of cutting and clearing will be paid with federal . Unfortunately, if the trees are on private property, must be paid for by the residents themselves. can range as high as $1,000 to cut remove one tree. Officials say that residents can for state and federal loans if necessary.
“Well, good does that do me?” asked Thelma, a -year-old widow. “I’m living on social security. I’ve got trees on my property. The government’s not going loan me money when they know there’s no I can pay it back. So what am supposed to do? These planners with all their ideas ought to think of the little people.”