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Denver Snowstorm Knocks Down Trees All Over Town. Now What?

Truck this — or something that sounds like that.
Truck this — or something that sounds like that. Kyle Wagner
Denver woke up today to 7.1 inches of wet, heavy snow — the most so far this season, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder, and more like the kind we usually get in the spring — that took out trees all over the city, including the one that fell on my truck. The driver’s side mirror is toast and my windshield is cracked, but as I drove around the block to find a new parking spot that wasn't under a tree still shedding branches, it was obvious that some folks got hit far worse (and hey, at least we're not in Buffalo). In fact, when I turned the corner at East Tenth Avenue and Washington Street, a fire truck blocked the way as a group of firefighters from Denver Fire Station 8 monitored a large section of downed power line. As I tried to turn around, even my 4WD couldn’t keep me from getting stuck in a pile of icy slush.
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The City of Denver says to get on out there and break these down to four-foot, four-inch-diameter pieces.
Kyle Wagner
If you have to get jammed up like that, though, I highly recommend doing it a few yards away from a bunch of firefighters (thanks, guys!). And on another good note, snow fell all over Colorado, which means more fun for snowhounds.

Meanwhile, the question of what we’re going to do about what is estimated to be hundreds of downed trees and branches all over the city has yet to be adequately answered, because — not surprisingly — no one is available to take your call at the Office of the City Forester right now. Their auto-response email message says that they, like everyone else, are “currently short staffed.”
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My heroes from Denver's Engine 8, left to right: Dominic Odom, Jesse Franklin, Lane Walter and Shawn Steinbrecher.
Kyle Wagner
“Usually they tell us that there’s going to be a special drop-off location or pickup services when there’s a big storm like this,” says Ashley at 311, who is not allowed to provide a last name but can say that her phone calls thus far today have been about “tree down, tree down, tree down.”

If the tree is on your property or sidewalk, you are responsible for breaking it down and removing it, Ashley says. Denver Waste Management will pick up single pieces no longer than four feet and no more than four inches in diameter; if there’s more than one piece of that size or smaller, they must be bundled and tied together, and the bundle cannot weigh more than fifty pounds. “I’m guessing they will tell us about more help with the trees from this storm, because there’s obviously a lot,” Ashley says, adding that the Office of the Forester likely will announce a plan to come around and help with pickup, as well. 

In the meantime, you can move trees and branches that are not on your property or sidewalk but are blocking streets, but only if you can do so easily and safely — and if not, call the Office of the Forester at 720-913-0651. Otherwise, you can always hope that the team from Engine 8 is nearby.
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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner

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