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March 21, 2019   
January 28, 2007 

‘Human Shield’ for a Tree

A 57-year-old Anaheim, Calif. man climbed a ficus tree on Jan. 10 and refused to come down after city crews arrived with cutting tools and a wood chipper.

He was dead-set on saving the tree, even though it grows on public land near his home.

A day later, Secrest and a neighbor were taking turns standing guard at the base of the tree. If crews return, Secrest said, he will scurry back up into the tree, where he has hung a hammock and halogen lights.

City Fire Marshall Jeff Lutz said the tree “is on city property and creates an obstruction to fire apparatus.”

“We require a minimum fire access of 20 feet wide and 14 feet high (on streets),” Lutz said. “This tree is growing out into the street at a height of less than 14 feet.”

Secrest said he received a call from Allen Hudak of the city’s Urban Forestry Department, informing him of the city’s wish to cut down the tree.

Secrest says the city of Anaheim required him to plant the tree in 1979.

“I put the road in,” he said from a perch high atop the large ficus. “At that time the city required that I plant these trees.”

When a city crew showed up with a wood chipper in tow, Secrest told them, “I planted this tree myself. I’m going to go up and say goodbye to it now.”

“I’ll sleep out here if necessary,” Secrest said.

Back to News/Press Releases >> Source: Landscape Online
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