Tree Safety Glossary

Auditing
Process by which a random sample of contractor work is field reviewed for completion and data accuracy by a trained and experienced auditor.

Chemical Pole Brushing
Work activity within the pole brushing maintenance cycle where contractor conducts both chemical assessment and chemical application on approved SDG&E poles.  This activity normally occurs in the late fall and winter months.

Clearance
The distance measured, usually in feet, between vegetation and the nearest energized SDG&E conductor or facility.

Compliance
General term used in reference to the condition of a tree or wood pole as it relates to the applicable law, rule or regulation.  For example, a tree growing within three (3) feet of a 12kV power line would be out of compliance with California Public Resources Code (PRC), Section 4293 which requires four (4) feet clearance at all times.

Corrective Maintenance Program (CMP)
The CMP is a maintenance program for SDG&E’s electric distribution system mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The program, requiring periodic inspection or patrolling of SDG&E equipment for safety and operating problems, is administered through the Electric Transmission & Distribution Engineering Department, with involvement and support from the operating Districts and Construction Services.

Diameter at Breast Height (DBH)
Measurement of tree diameter, in inches, taken at 4 ½ feet above ground level. For trees growing on slopes, the measurement is taken on the uphill side of the tree.

Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA)
Area within the SDG&E service territory determined to be environmentally sensitive by the Environmental Services department protocols.  Work activities may be restricted or prohibited in ESAs.

Inventory Tree
Tree with potential to grow into, or fall into, SDG&E primary distribution or transmission overhead electrical facilities within three (3) years from the date of inspection. Refer to SDG&E Pre-inspection Guidelines for more detailed information.

Local Responsibility Area (LRA)
Geographic area within the SDG&E service territory where the local fire department (not state) has primary fire suppression responsibility.  Note: CPUC General Order 95, Rule 35, applies to LRAs.

Maintenance Cycle
Time period between the scheduled start date of a vegetation management  activity and the next scheduled start date for the same activity.  SDG&E is currently on a one-year maintenance cycle for key program work activities (tree pruning and pole brushing).

Managed Pole or subject pole
SDG&E pole or tower subject to fire code compliance with PRC, Section 4292. This regulation applies in the SRA and requires poles or towers installed with non-exempt hardware to have flammable vegetation removed from around the base.  

Mechanical Pole Brushing
Work activity within the pole brushing maintenance cycle where certain subject poles are cleared of flammable vegetation by using mechanical means (weed whips, rakes, etc.) Mechanical brushing typically occurs during the spring and summer months within the pole brushing cycle.

Memo Work
Reactive, unscheduled work required for a variety of reasons, including storm work, circuit reliability, capital projects, cycle-buster tree compliance, and corrective maintenance.  

Pole Brushing
Process of maintaining clearance around subject poles and towers of flammable vegetation for compliance with PRC, Section 4292. We also maintain clearance in some Local Responsibility Areas (LRA.)

Pole Fire Protection
Program administered through the SDG&E Fire Coordinator, where wood poles and other company facilities are protected during, or in advance of, wildland fires.

Pre-inspection
Vegetation management work activity where trees are inspected for conflict with overhead electric facilities.  

Re-clear Pole Brushing
Work activity within the pole brushing maintenance cycle where subject poles are cleared of flammable vegetation using mechanical means (weed whips, rakes, etc.).  Re-clear pole brushing usually occurs within the summer and fall months.

Reliability Tree or hazard tree
Any tree which, upon review by a qualified person, has reasonable potential to fall into SDG&E overhead facilities  This includes dead trees, decadent or rotten trees, trees weakened by disease or decay, and trees, or portions thereof, that lean toward the line with a reasonable potential to fail. 

State Responsibility Area (SRA)
Geographic area where the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has primary fire suppression responsibility.  Note: Public Resources Code, Sections 4292 and 4293 apply in all SRAs.

Vegetation Management Area (VMA)
A geographical area designated by SDG&E for vegetation management purposes partitioned by major highways, municipal boundaries and/or other natural occurring features.  SDG&E’s service territory is divided into 133 designated VMAs, each with an identification number.