By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A growing problem in California is what to do with all the logs, clippings and brush associated with clearing defensible space or downed dangerous trees.

“The problem is too easily solved. Why there isn’t a solution is baffling to me,” said Daniel Hovarter, a tree professional.

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Hovarter was downing a eucalyptus tree on 38th Street in Sacramento, right over Daisy Gutierrez’s home.

“This is a very dangerous tree and I have two kids,” Gutierrez said.

“If it’s a hazard to the home or a potential fire hazard to the home, they’re required to take the tree down or the homeowner’s insurance will drop them,” said Hovarter.

Hovarter says due to the storms with high winds in January, and now the drought, his business has almost tripled. The problem is, so have fees at area landfills.

“I pass those expenses along to the homeowner and at that rate, nobody gets their tree done,” he said.

For example, the eucalyptus tree costs $15,000 to cut down and it will cost nearly $13,000 to dispose of the 200 tons of wood. Insurance won’t pay for preventative maintenance, so it comes out of pocket.

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“There is nowhere to take this natural resource which is recyclable,” Hovarter said.

He says a state-sponsored free “green-waste dumping program” would ease those costs. Currently to save money, “We will burn when allowed or we’ll dump it into people’s yards and process it later,” he said.

That’s why Cal Fire is directing the public to county programs like “Urban Wood Rescue” in Sacramento.

“We are diverting those logs from waste stream and turning that wood into lumber that’s available to the public to purchase,” said a representative of the program.

The issue? Only certain species and sizes of trees are accepted, and logs must be straight with no branches.

That just doesn’t cut it when you look at the volume of wood that needs to be processed says Hovarter.

“Every county should have an entire swath of land dedicated to green waste dump,” Hovarter said. “It would incentivize homeowners to clear their land because they’re not looking at a financial hurdle. They can just clear their land, throw it in the truck and dump it.”

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Programs vary from county to county. You can find out more by checking with your local fire safety council. To find out more about the wood rescue program, call 916-974-4336.