Storm blows over trees on BYU campus

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Alayna Pehrson
A member of the BYU grounds crew uses a saw to clear a fallen tree on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. The tree, one of two spruces to fall during a storm, blocked the west entrance of the McKay School of Education. (Alayna Pehrson)

Two spruce trees on the BYU campus blew over Thursday, Feb. 18, during a storm that suddenly swept across the Wasatch Front. One of the trees was located outside the Harold B. Lee Library, and the other fell down outside the McKay School of Education.

The fallen spruces created a mess, with one blocking the west entrance into the McKay School. Another tree, a pine near the Eyring Science Center, lost a limb to the wind, which knocked over a light pole as it came down.

The BYU grounds crew immediately dispatched its arborist and tree crew to clear the debris with saws.

Whitney Hales
Students bypass a light pole that fell after a pine tree lost a large limb Thursday, Feb. 18. The tree appears in the right foreground of this photo. (Whitney Hales)

BYU arborist Max Darrington said his crew cut up and cleared away the fallen spruces, then re-staked several young trees that had tipped over. The crew is now debating whether or not it can salvage the pine tree, which lost about a third of its mass to the storm.

“It’s sad to see,” Darrington said. “The trees are like my kids. I’ve taken care of them all for quite some years now, and I hate to see them go.”

There are about 14,000 trees throughout campus, and Darrington said his crew inspects every tree annually and keeps detailed records.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we monitor our trees very, very closely,” Darrington said. “But any tree will fall over if you have significant wind damage. There are just some unforeseen acts of God where there’s nothing that we could have done.”

No one was injured as the trees fell, and property damage was minimal. Darrington said BYU will replace the light pole and decide what to do with the pine tree.

 

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