Helicopter removes palm trees from Ruffin Canyon in Serra Mesa

SERRA MESA (KUSI) – Residents of Serra Mesa were treated to an interesting aerial sight today.  But more important, is what the operation meant to their safety.

The operation involved ground crews and a big helicopter removing 300 non-native Palm trees– including large Canary Island Palms weighing several thousand pounds, from two inaccessible urban canyons. In this case, Sandrock and Ruffin Canyons.

We’ve seen similar helo operations in the past, including removals from Tecolote Canyon and Rueda Canyon in Tierrasanta.   The effort involves a partnership between two environmental organizations, San Diego Canyonlands and the San Diego River Conservancy, the latter a state agency.

We’ll get to the non-native vegetation issue in a moment because the public safety concern of these trees that go up like Roman Candles when a wildfire breaks out, takes precedent.  The fronds and the embers can travel to neighboring buildings and residences, meaning quite a fire risk to people living in and around these canyons.

As for the non-native vegetation issue, such vegetation typically takes more water than native vegetation.  In this case, the Palms are sucking up creeks in the canyon beds, leaving the native vegetation dry.  And thus, the wildlife which thrives on it, has no place to go.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News