When you work as a line clearance tree trimmer, you never know where the job will take you. On any given day, you may be working in an urban center, a suburban neighborhood, rural farmland – or maybe even all three.
On the day that the Utility Reporter caught up with IBEW 1245 members Josue Avaiza, Daniel Munoz Zuniga and Gabriel Manzo of Trees Inc, they happened to be working on the fence line of an active horse ranch, across the street from a large vineyard in Stockton.
Between the farm animals and the white picket fence, as well as the oncoming traffic and the power lines, the crew had its fair share of challenges to contend with, but they took them all in stride.
“This transmission line is 125kv, and the power lines we’re working underneath are 17kv. We have to be at 2.7 feet, minimum, away from the power lines,” explained Josue Araiza. “We have a flagger set up at the back of the truck to control the traffic, and we have to throw out all the signs, because we’re working in the road and there’s cars passing by here and there. And of course we can’t let any of the animals get too close, we don’t want to hit them with a branch or anything.”
Avaiza and Zuniga took on the large, branchy poplar tree while Manzo handled traffic control. Zuniga worked from the bucket with Avaiza assisted from the ground. After meticulously trimming the three, they carefully fed the branches into the chipper and cleared their truck out of the roadway quickly and safely.
Photos by John Storey