To Recognize a Hazard Tree... Hazard Trees Safe Backcountry Travel in Alaska Lori Trummer and Paul Hennon Forest Service, Alaska Region, State and Private Forestry. ...FIRST LOOK UP For More Information: USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry THINGS THAT “SHOUT”—“WATCH OUT”... Forest Health Protection Tel 907.743.9455 Southcentral Field Office 3301 “C” Street, Suite 202 Anchorage, AK 99503-3956 Southeast Field Office 11305 Glacier Highway Juneau, AK 99801 Interior Field Office 3700 Airport Way Fairbanks, AK 99709 dead trees broken branches material may fall from a tree www.fs.fed.us/r10/spf/fhp hot button: hazard trees signs of disease trees leaning more than 10° The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimi- Dead trees (including those killed by nation in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, beetles, fire, insects, and disease) are national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases very dangerous. apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alter- Broken hanging branches may fall native means for communication of program information (Braille, unexpectedly. large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Material may fall from a tree (including Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). nests) without warning. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Signs of disease, especially mushrooms or Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 conks (perennial fruiting bodies), are Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250–9410 or call evidence of weakened tree structure. (202) 720–5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity Leaning trees at greater than 10° from provider and employer. vertical pose a high potential for failure. Publication No. R10–PR–12; March 2007 Hazard Trees in Alaska What You Can Do to Reduce Risk What is Your Risk? Trees are the dominant Be observant! Examine trees in your camping or Exposure time to hazard trees varies based on the feature of forested eco- picnic area for evidence of hazard or failure po- amount of time visitors are in one location. systems. Every tree will tential. Take action by moving yourself and your ultimately die, decay, and belongings to a safe area if you suspect a hazard. Minimal be recycled into the ecosys- • Hikers spend relatively little time in one place (per- tem to provide nutrients for Avoid all dead trees, hazardous haps one minute). future forests. While these trees, and the danger zone in processes are natural, they which they may fail. Never can pose a threat to back- picnic or camp close to a Moderate dead tree; it could fall at • Picnickers have more exposure (one to several hours). country travelers. any time without warning. Alaska is known as one of the Maximum world’s premier destinations for • Campers have the longest exposure. (from many backcountry adventure. But with hours to many days). Thus, campers have the highest adventure comes the risk inher- potential to encounter a hazard tree. Never underestimate the danger ent with backcountry travel. This leaflet can help you posed by small trees. Dead trees recognize safe backcountry behavior around trees or tree parts 6˝ in cross-section anywhere in Alaska. have fallen and killed hikers Three Basics for Safety and campers. What is a Hazard Tree? The risk posed by hazard trees is often overlooked. A hazard tree is defined by: 1. Potential risk of failure A tree or part of a tree has a defect (or defects) that makes it predisposed Avoid trees with excessive lean to failure. (10° or greater) or evidence of defect. Move yourself and 2. Potential for damage belongings to a safe area. A tree is located so that failure presents a threat to people or property. What is Your Responsibility? Be especially cautious of Land management agencies cannot remove all hazard trees in strong winds. hazard trees in the vast public lands in Alaska, and Select a safe place to spend We hope you enjoy your typically they only attempt to remove hazard trees the night. recreational experience in developed areas with high public use. and remember to practice Visitors must be aware of the dangers Do not chop or bang into dead awareness and good of hazard trees and take precautions, especially in backcountry settings. trees as the entire tree or top judgment around hazard branches may fall on you. trees in your travels.
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