Two workers for Utility Tree Service, Inc., a landscaper specializing in utilities contracts across multiple counties in California and Oregon, removed a palm tree on the former property of Max Factor built in 1956 at 232 Avenida Ortega, known today as The Fontenell.

David Guzman, Southern California Edison’s vegetation and forestry director, wants you to know that of all the plants in your yard, it’s the palm trees that are most dangerous to your power lines — and therefore also pose the greatest fire threat.

While the desert isn’t forested like the mountain areas in Riverside County, the fuzzy, fur-like fibers that jut out of dry palm fronds along the trunk are highly combustible. 

Local fire authorities are familiar with the Coachella Valley’s most ubiquitous tinder, and frequently respond to palm tree fires, even when it’s not fire season. Earlier this year, a blaze in 60-70 tree palm grove in Indio resulted in a several hours-long firefight requiring 13 engines and 42 firefighters.

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