• Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

Dimancherouge

Technology

American Tree Medics Sends Foresters Into the Woods to Prevent Wildfires–and Save Lives

Editor’s note: Deadly wildfires are affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans on the West Coast. This story from the September 2020 issue of Inc. highlights one fast-growing company that helps manage the devastation and limit the damage of future fires.

The devastating wildfires that swept through Northern California in recent years have left a new problem in their wake: dead trees that threaten people, roads, and gas and water lines. Enter American Tree Medics, which hit the 2020 Inc. 5000 with more than $2 million in 2019 revenue. The family-owned company uses a team of arborists and foresters to perform 15-minute diagnostic evaluations–factoring in each tree’s species, age, and other characteristics–and decide which ones need to be cut down. “Time is critical in these situations,” says co-founder and CEO Heidi Britt. The Modesto, California-based company earned $2.1 million last year from clients including the city of Santa Rosa and Butte County, site of the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, 2018’s Camp Fire.

CREDIT: Ryan Young

Employees use tape measures, magnifying glasses, hatchets, and other tools to give each tree a health score. Removing dead, dried-out trees can improve the overall health of the forest and hinder the spread of wildfires. 

CREDIT: Ryan Young

Here, they’re working in Twain Harte, California, outside Yosemite National Park.

CREDIT: Ryan Young

The company creates teams of certified arborists, foresters, and loggers. All new employees shadow a professional for several months before they can perform assessments on their own.

CREDIT: Ryan Young

American Tree Medics’ clients include municipalities, parks departments, and utility companies, like Pacific Gas & Electric. “California continues to have a wildfire problem–that doesn’t seem to be changing,” says Britt. “What we’re focusing on is helping communities and companies reduce their risk.”

CREDIT: Ryan Young

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