Careless Behavior Causes Some Serious Accidents

Just after noon on Thursday (August 12), Washington State Department of Transportation Maintenance Technician 2 Guy Copeland was busy mowing the grassy median on I-5 near Castle Rock in Cowlitz County when a passing motorist flicked a lit cigarette out of their window. The cigarette butt landed directly in front of the mower and almost instantly the extremely dry grass went up in flames. Guy immediately backed the mower up, but the fire spread quickly and had soon had the machine surrounded. After radioing for help, Guy leapt out of the mower to safety. The Washington State Patrol and two more WSDOT employees soon arrived on the scene and closed one left lane on I-5 northbound to make room for the fire trucks and personnel from Castle Rock Fire and EMS, the Cowlitz County Fire District 3 and the state Department of Natural Resources. After about an hour and a half, the fire was out, and left lane was reopened just before 2:30 p.m.

“What we have here is a careless motorist who needlessly risked the life of a state employee and damaged state equipment,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Maintenance and Operations Manager Rick Sjolander. “All because they couldn’t be bothered to put their cigarette out properly.”

This summer has been extremely dry, which increases the risk for brush and grass fires across the state. As a result, WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol and a host of state agencies and local fire districts have teamed up to send drivers a simple message, “Keep your butt in the car.”

By throwing a lit cigarette out the window, you jeopardize the safety of others, cause potential traffic back-ups while emergency response teams battle the fire, and cost taxpayers up to $100,000 an acre. It’s not cheap for those caught throwing cigarettes out their window either. The Washington State Patrol will fine violators $1,025 if caught.

WSDOT would also like to emphasize the fact that summer is one of the busiest highway maintenance seasons in the state. All motorists are asked to please slow down, pay attention and use caution while driving past a highway work zone, whether it’s in a travel lane or on the shoulder or median.
Give ‘em a Brake!

Work Zone Safety Facts:

It is more likely that a motorist will be killed in a highway work zone accident than a construction or maintenance employee. In Washington, 12 motorists are killed for every WSDOT employee killed and 214 motorists are injured for every WSDOT employee injured.
The most common cause of work zone accidents is speeding and inattentive driving.
All traffic law violation fines are doubled inside a work zone when workers are present (RCW 46.61.527).
All motorists must obey the directions of all flaggers or pilot vehicle drivers within the work zone. If you ignore their directions or in any way endanger their lives with reckless driving, you will be charged with a misdemeanor (RCW 46.61.015).
State law dictates that all motorists must yield the right of way to any highway construction personnel, vehicles with flashing yellow lights or construction equipment inside a highway construction or maintenance work zone (RCW 46.61.215).
Contact our Vermont Accident Lawyers if you have ever experienced a personal injury and think others are at fault for the accident.

Pruning Your Texas Live Oak – Good Guys Tree Service

Live Oak Tree Services

The stately live oak is a frequent and welcome sight throughout central and west Texas. These massive trees are known for their speedy growth, their long, sweeping limbs, and their exceedingly long lives — the oldest live oaks in the United States are estimated to be thousands of years old.Tree services

Unfortunately, the lives of these beautiful trees can be cut short by oak wilt — and oak wilt is more common in Texas than in any other part of the country. Oak wilt is caused by a fungus that’s carried and spread by the Nitidulid beetle. This beetle is drawn to the sweet smell of the live oak’s sap. For this reason, many folks around the Austin area are afraid that pruning, since it allows tree sap to flow to the tree’s exterior, is dangerous for the health of their live oaks.Pruning is Natural and Necessary

Your live oak is just like any other tree. It needs to be well maintained, and wise pruning is part of the care a healthy tree requires. So — what do we mean by wise pruning? For starters, consider the time of year. The Nitudulid beetle is generally far less active during our cold season, late November through early February. This makes winter the best time for pruning your live oak.

However, your tree may need pruning at other times of the year — and it’s important for your tree’s health that you not delay necessary maintenance! No matter what time of year, your live oak will need to to be trimmed if its limbs are interfering with utilities, or hanging in such a way that there’s danger to traffic, structures, or passers-by.

You may want to trim branches that hang too low to the ground, as this encourages healthy growth at the tree’s crown. Your live oak will need trimming if any of its branches have been damaged by storms, or if branches are rubbing on a building or another branch. And certainly, a dead limb should be removed right away.Precautions for Safe Trimmingtree removal

In any season there are certain precautions you or your tree trimming professional should take to minimize the risk of oak wilt. All pruning tools should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with a 10% solution of water and bleach, or a safe disinfectant made specifically for use with trees. Remember to clean those tools before they’re used on a second tree, as well as before and after each trimming session!

Once a branch has been trimmed, it’s very important to seal the wound quickly. This is what keeps the sap from attracting the Nitudulid beetle. It’s okay to use latex paint for your sealant, but we prefer tree paint or a good pruning sealer.

The experienced professionals at Good Guys Tree Service cherish your live oak as much as you do. Call us with questions regarding the health of a live oak as well as any other of your Austin tree trimming and tree removal needs. Your 100% satisfaction is always our goal, and we’ll go the extra mile to earn it.