New posts

Dangers of trees- Mark Weir knows

Feb. 19, 2014, 10:34 a.m.
Posts: 1124
Joined: July 28, 2008

It covered the basic theory but not the practical over 6". However, depending where you are working, it's likely illegal to fall 12"+ anyway. (Without permits from the landowner)

In this case it would be on rural family property. I have cut trees of similar size before but I would like training on technical stuff such as falling against the lean.

But it did cover bucking 12"+ blowdowns.

I'm comfortable with bucking and reading bind on the ground, but that is good to know and something a builder would have to deal with.

>>---------> (x)
My flickr

Feb. 19, 2014, 10:41 a.m.
Posts: 8935
Joined: Dec. 23, 2005

I have no idea where you build or the builders you speak of but on Fromme, inside District property no one is building without a permit from the District. The permit which has to be renewed each year with work constantly being monitored throughout the year.

Your description of builders does not represent any of the builders I work with on Fromme. Just because you have yet to meet anyone who is trained and has the tickets does not mean they do not exist.

Come out my way and say hi sometime. I am working most weekends on Fromme. Then you can say you know a builder who has the training with tickets.

Seeing the pictures kinda makes me missing being out there daily with the saw, well not the days when it was 4 inches of wet slush on the ground in the upper British Properties. The dry winter would have been nice this year to tree work.

Feb. 19, 2014, 10:58 a.m.
Posts: 1124
Joined: July 28, 2008

[QUOTE=cerealkilla';2807003]That course would be for cutting under 6", or for wood lying flat on the ground. The only courses in BC that teach cutting over 6" (standing or suspended) are those for certified utility arborists, and certified fallers.

Admittedly, a major weak spot in the training systems for cutting trees is that there is no intermediate level of training, say for people that occasionally cut over 6', but for whom cutting is only an occasional task. There is a bit of an all or nothing approach in BC, where the idea is that falling is so dangerous that only fully trained people should do it. WHerea, in Alberta, the Enform course is a fraction of the cost and time demands. Interestingly, an Enform falling ticket is recognized in BC.

A good starting point would be a chainsaw course combined with a danger tree assessment course (DTA). Good thing about DTA is that it can help you recognize problems, and steer away from them before getting in too deep.You can find DTA courses quite easily. Some of them have done their practical day in Stanley Park. The chainsaw course is a great idea too. There are a lot of basics and rules of thumb (or finger) that cannot be over-emphasized. Courses can vary in quality based on instructor and curriculum though, so the best thing you can do is get a recommendation from someone you know who has taken the course. If you have friends in silviculture or harvesting, ask them.

There is a group (a provincial sub-committee that I have some connection to) that is working on developing an intermediate course for occasional cutting. Hard to say how it will unfold, given some of the "all or nothing" approach. If and when it gets off the ground, I will post a link.

It's good to seek more information. There is value in the videos. Another point to make is obviously to avoid cutting trees whenever possible, but I feel like a pompous shit for harping on that any more. Nechako is right about no substitute for hands-on training. So if you know Silk, or know someone that is a certified faller or arborist and works trail, see if you can accompany them to help sometime. Another good starting point.

Thanks, I'll look into the danger tree course.

>>---------> (x)
My flickr

Feb. 19, 2014, 11:09 a.m.
Posts: 17902
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

Let us know what you find about DTA

Feb. 19, 2014, 12:12 p.m.
Posts: 731
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Here's a link to the Ministry page that deals with Wildlife Danger Tree Assessment Certifications.
Most of the training is done through UNCBC, but they have campuses in many places. They do have courses in Duncan and on the island, but not sure about Vancouver offerings.
THere are 3 different DTA courses. I think builders would be most interested in either the parks and rec course of the forestry and silviculture course, probably the latter as I expect it to be more focused on disturbances. Really, what builders are doing can be quite involved, and many of them already have a considerable knowledge base and some experience in the woods.

There are some information resources linked through the site. A nice angle, is if you can get your work to pay for it. If you work in a place of 20 or more employees, your company by law must have a Joint OH[HTML_REMOVED]S Committee, that includes worker representatives. These reps are entitled to 8 hours of PAID safety education per year. If you can deal with committee duty (and make a worthy contribution) and your boss is open to it, here is a good way to get started. You might have to pay for the extra day (it is a 2-day course). However, A) you can polish your negotiating skills in pushing for both and b) schedule the course in a place you like to ride. Hmmmmm course in Duncan, would kind of like to check out Maple Mountain and Tzouhalem. Gears start turning….

Feb. 19, 2014, 12:46 p.m.
Posts: 453
Joined: Aug. 23, 2003

So I'm curious, I took a danger tree/advanced cutting technique course through my work. I believe it was set up through BCIT. Norman(stormin norman) taught it. The intention of the course was to allow us to cut stuff up to 36" but then a bunch of legal issues and "mumbo jumbo" came up. What would that qualify me to do in your opinion? (cerealkilla or anyone else with relevant certs)

Disclaimer. Anything written above this should not be taken literally, its called sarcasm you idiots.

Feb. 19, 2014, 2:02 p.m.
Posts: 2009
Joined: July 19, 2003

I grew up cutting fire wood and the like. then in my late teens I started brushing and spacing. my training involved the boss at the time taking me out into the woods, smoking a phatty with me, taking my little chain saw which I had just bought, swinging it like a mad man for about 5 mins. then standing back and saying "yeah, like that, see you at the end of the day" tossing me a plot cord and walking away. I ended up working for those guys for 5 years!

my last full time stint running power saw looked more like this. I was the bucker, but fell up to 50% of the time, cause we were out to make cash, not fuck around. here my faller taking care of this tree, cause the huge check in it was a little beyond what I wanted to be involved in.

Just a speculative fiction. No cause for alarm.

Feb. 19, 2014, 2:07 p.m.
Posts: 731
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Speaking strictly from the perspective of the workplace, to cut trees over 6" in diameter, you should be a certified faller (CF) (either grandfathered or certified through the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC)), or a CUA - certified utility arborist. There is no other recognized certification for cutting standing trees in BC, other than the Enform faller ticket imported from Alberta.


I realize that there are a lot of old-school types that think the certification route is ass-backwards, and that they know enough to be safe without taking the course, and some may be teaching courses out there. I also know that more people get killed falling trees than any other job in BC, and the old-hands are not exempt from the body count (again, forgive the preaching).

Now, I fully realize that is the purely bureaucratic interpretation, and I know for fact people cut trees every day without holding any of the above certs. This happens in the workplace, in private, and in that grey area of doing vollie work. I think it raises a serious red flag for any organization that sponsors trail work where any cutting is occurring. Fact is, if a tree falls in the forest, and it lands on someone, pleading ignorance will not protect anyone or any organization. So that's my purely technical interpretation, and I would speculate that either Norman didn't present things properly, or presented things in a way that made it difficult to interpret the facts. This is coming from a certified forestry safety auditor in BC and Alberta.

Also, "qualification" and "certification" are very different things. THe latter implies holding a recognized ticket/certificate/license from a recognized training institutions. The former may include training, experience, or a combination of the above.

I do know many "qualified" people that are as or more skilled and knowledgeable than many with tickets. However, qualification is not sufficient for workplaces or to satisfy regulatory requirements in BC, unless you are one of the grandfathered fallers from before the era of licensing and certifying.

Qualification is a good place to start, and to seriously ask yourself, ego aside, if you are indeed qualified to be bringing down a tree. WHo did you learn from? How much time have you had on the saw? In the last year?

There is a big grey area out there in the woods, where you aren't necessarily on the clock. At the beginning of the thread, I mentioned two reasons for starting this discussion. First was out of concern for builders. That is paramount. I will be sick if a builder gets Wile-E-Coyote'd by a tree. Second, is the potential legal implications for everyone if a builder gets squashed. If it happens while doing sanctioned trail work, the sanctioning group (NSMBA, FVMBA, SORCA, whoever) could be in a very very tough place. Regardless of whether they officially approve cutting activities, that it happens under their program could bring on the hounds.

Ultimately, there is no easy solution, or quick-grab course out there to clear people to fall trees. Thus there is a lot of don't ask don't tell cutting going on. I identified earlier the gap in BC chainsaw training and faller courses. THerefore, I would stick to my earlier suggestion that people interested or concerned investigate: A) Basic chainsaw training, B) Wildlife Danger Tree assessment C) Experience with a certified faller (CF or CUA). SHort of becoming a CF or CUA, you can learn a tremendous amount from these avenues.

I lean more towards CFs because they learn to fall in the woods, where CUAs are more oriented around falling near hydro lines, and their training is actually not intended for middle of the woods activity. Pure directional falling techniques are very much the realm of certified fallers (BCFSC). No offense to CUAs, they deal with highly complex jobs that often involve electricity, buildings, roadways, and pulley lines. If you're ever dealing with a tree that is close to a hydro line, goes without saying to stay clear, and get a pro in there. In such a case, a CUA is your person.

Feb. 19, 2014, 2:17 p.m.
Posts: 351
Joined: March 4, 2013

not arguing the points brought up here, but how often should builders realistically be having to fall standing trees over 6" anyways?

the only situation i can see is hazard trees, and most people i know just let nature deal with those (see your post about being in the forest in a wind storm).

Feb. 19, 2014, 2:24 p.m.
Posts: 731
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Not often GB, I would hope most would avoid falling if its unnecessary. I take it your point was more rhetorical, than actual question.
However, we all know it happens. Stumps don't lie.

Of course, it's different when there's something partially down, or hung up over a trail, like Mark Weir and his buddies ran into. Around my hood, when trees over trails get reported, it seems like a race to get to it first with the saw and claim creds. I just wanted to push this thread to promote awareness, and encourage learning before cutting.

Feb. 19, 2014, 2:28 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Aug. 6, 2004

I bet you could build a healthy beer and bike part supply out of assisting others with their sticks :)[/QUOTE]

I wish that was true.

Climbers / fallers with the certs which take years to get paid crap for the risk involved.

20 - 30 bucks an hour to run a crew is a joke.

I can not count how many times giving a price on a 100 ft cottonwood removal hanging over a house / power lines which is almost to dangerous to touch with the homeowner looking at me like I was out to screw them.

All the while I look over to see the multi-million dollar house with expensive cars sitting directly under said hazard.

Then they go and hire a unlicensed fly by night company to do the removal which does not have the overhead costs of proper maintained equipment, 3rd party liability and WCB coverage.

So much undercutting in this industry its a race right to the bottom.

Only way to make it is getting the nice Hydro clearance contracts. But they also have dried up over the years.

Feb. 19, 2014, 3:12 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Aug. 9, 2003

[QUOTE=cerealkilla';2807070]Around my hood, when trees over trails get reported, it seems like a race to get to it first with the saw and claim creds. [/QUOTE]

where lies this mythical place where trail maintainers are tripping over each other to clear deadfall?

River City Cycle Club -

Comox Valley Mountain Biking -

Feb. 19, 2014, 4:42 p.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

[QUOTE=cerealkilla';2806929]If you're doing trail work or riding, and the wind picks up, good idea to leave the woods, especially if you're in an area with any dodgy trees.

That now covers most of BC with all the pine beetle kill wood out there.

When I get back up there in the spring, I'm expecting to see about 200 hundred trees down on the 2 trails I've been taking care of.

Feb. 20, 2014, 2:32 p.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

i'm not certified in any way for killing trees, but i've been doing it for 20 yrs and feel pretty comfortable. haven't hurt myself or anyone else yet, and i've been in some reasonably complex situations.

i'm sure there's a lot of value in taking a formal course, but there's a lot to be said for experience. there are many people i know who use a saw regularly who do it safely and don't get hurt. in my opinion, you're over-stating the importance of formal training here.

there would be NO trails if only "certified" fallers built trails. i'm sorry your friend was killed, that's horrible, but its not like we're dropping like flies around here.

Feb. 20, 2014, 2:36 p.m.
Posts: 17902
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

I know someone who was severely injured from a deadfall. Jus saying, there are a couple flies buzzing about.

On Fromme and Seymour, we don't kill trees to build trail. The goal is to protect them as much as possible.

Forum jump: