Tree and Power Line Dangers

Boy in tree near power linesTrees near power lines are dangerous! When a tree grows close to a power line, it can create shock hazards, power outages and fires:

  • Never climb a tree near a power line and never touch the power line. Electricity will go through you and you can be injured or killed.
  • If a tree branch falls on a power line, it can cause a power outage. Electricity will go off in any homes or businesses served by the power line until the electric utility can remove the branch and fix the line.
  • If a tree branch touches a high-voltage power line, electricity from the line can make the branch so hot it catches fire. From there, the fire can spread to nearby trees, plants or buildings.

 Stay Safe Around Trees & Power Lines

Do you like to climb and play in trees? Follow these tips to help keep yourself and your friends safe:

Child's drawing of person climbing tree near power lines

  1. Never climb in or play in trees that are growing next to power lines.
  2. Never touch a power line with your hand or with any other object, whether you are in a tree or on the ground.
  3. Don’t build a tree house, fort or anything else in a tree that is next to power lines.
  4. Tell an adult if you see trees growing close to high-voltage power lines or contacting these lines. (High-voltage lines are the ones at the very top of power poles.)
  5. If you see a power line that has fallen into a tree or onto the ground, stay away and tell an adult immediately. Even if they are not sparking or humming, fallen lines can kill you if you touch them or the ground nearby.
  6. Tell an adult if you see someone trimming a tree next to a high-voltage power line. Qualified line-clearance tree trimmers are the only ones allowed to do this.
  7. Plant only trees that will not grow tall or wide enough to contact nearby power lines.
  8. Before planting a tree, or doing any digging on your property, have an adult call the underground utility locator service at 811 to make sure you won’t dig into buried power lines. This is a free service.

Safe Tree Planting

Mother and father with two kids and dog planting treeMore than 100,000 acres of the world’s trees are cut down every day. We can help offset this loss by planting trees in our neighborhoods. But we must plant trees in the right place, far from overhead power lines. If someone you know wants to plant a tree, use this checklist to help ensure it grows a safe distance from power lines.

Safe Tree Trimming

By law, electric utilities must keep trees trimmed so they remain a safe distance away from high-voltage power lines. Utilities hire specially trained tree trimmers to do this work.

Man with chainsaw cutting branches on treeThese workers know how to trim trees to keep them healthy and to make sure branches won’t touch nearby lines. They use special tools like climbing ropes and bucket trucks made of materials that do not conduct electricity. If trees are too close to lines to trim safely, tree trimmers work with the local electric utility to turn off power to the line temporarily.

Only qualified line-clearance tree trimmers are allowed to trim trees near high-voltage power lines! If someone you know plans to trim a tree next to a power line, ask them to call the local electric utility first.

Print this helpful checklist:

Safe Tree-Planting Checklist

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