Rio Rancho linemen and apprentices complete chainsaw and tree felling training

Lineman Michael Crabb begins to cut a tree under the guidance of instructor Steve Wright.

Tri-State’s linemen boast a number of specialized skills — ranging from bucket truck operation, to working on 500,000-volt electric lines to expert tree-cutting abilities.

In keeping with its overall commitment to safety, Tri-State linemen in the association’s south system maintenance region recently completed training on chainsaw operation/maintenance and tree felling. Apprentice linemen from all of the system maintenance regions participated in the training as well.

Tri-State contracts with tree felling experts from the northwest area of the U.S. to provide the annual training, which rotates among the association’s three regions, returning every third year.  This year’s training took place in Taos, N.M., and was hosted by the Rio Rancho facility. It was led by instructor Steve Wright of Northwest Timber Fallers, headquartered in Grants Pass, Ore.

“Outside contractors are brought in to conduct the training and, being from the northwest part of the country, all have a vast amount of tree felling experience,” said Wayne Martin, Tri-State training coordinator.

Wright shows how analyzing a stump can determine the quality of a cut.

The 13 linemen and apprentices from Rio Rancho spent the first day of training in the classroom and the next two in the field, cutting at least 100 trees within Tri-State’s right-of-way as identified by line foreman Adrian Garcia.

According to Martin, the instruction provided by Northwest Timber Fallers was effective and beneficial, even for veteran linemen. “Cutting a tree is a craft, just like being a lineman. You have to know what you’re doing,” he said.

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