Trees felled by high winds might can be a welcome firewood windfall, but potentially deadly should they land on power lines.
Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said following recent windstorms that blew trees down onto power lines, Hydro workers arrived to find lines down, but the trees that fell on them were sawed up and carted off for firewood.
“The line’s down, but the tree’s gone, so it’s pretty clear evidence that someone has come in there, removed the tree and bucked it up and taken it away for firewood,” Olynyk said. “They’re taking an extreme chance of causing themselves serious injury or that they could even cause a fatality.”
Downed lines could still be energized or could about to be energized remotely by B.C. Hydro to test the system. They could also carry a charge from emergency electric generators that have been installed incorrectly in nearby homes.
B.C. Hydro warns the public to stay at least 10 metres away from any downed power line.
“The other issue we’re seeing is people not being careful around lines,” Olynyk said. “They’re not staying 10 metres back. We hear reports of people with lines hanging down in front of their driveway or on the road and they’re either driving over the line or someone is getting out and lifting the line up so they can drive under it.”
People have even fashioned makeshift tools to move power lines or lift them over vehicles.
“What we want to do is give a proactive safety message, rather than reactive message of condolence,” Olynyk said.
For more information, please visit www.bchydro.com/safety-outages.html.