Kentucky Ice Storms

February – July 2009

Following an ice storm that left 55 people dead, Kentucky suffered its largest power outage on record, with 609,000 homes and businesses without power across the state. Property damage was widespread, with the damage due to falling trees, large tree limbs and power lines weighed down by ice. Bergeron Emergency Services dispatched its Advanced Management Team to identify the most heavily impacted areas and to develop a response strategy. As prime contractor, Bergeron Emergency Services provided hazardous tree removal and trimming and right of way loading and hauling of vegetative debris generated from back-to-back ice storms.

“The ice storm left much of the state in complete ruin. Upon notification, your firm immediately responded and worked tirelessly to assist both our project managers in the field and our municipal representatives. Because of the partnership between our Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Bergeron “Emergency Services, we were able to maximize our reimbursement from the FHWA and FEMA. Your adherence to all local, state and federal guidelines helped us tremendously with issues that might have otherwise been unsuccessful or overlooked.”

Tony Wilder, Commissioner
Office of the Governor, Department of Local Government Kentucky Ice Storm 2009


  • Crews were mobilized into the contract award area within 24 hours of notice-to-proceed
  • We deployed one crew into each of the five awarded counties
  • At peak, project-wide, we had mobilized over 300 tree trimming crews (approx. 900 persons) and over 600 pickup and haul crews (approx. 1,200 persons)
  • We employed over 2,100 personnel, local and out of state
  • We used approximately 3,500 pieces of equipment including chainsaws, loading equipment, hauling equipment, bucket trucks, and support equipment
  • BES mobilized tree trimming crews and hauling crews
  • Each hauling crew was teamed up with a trimming crew across 5 counties


  • Overall 1.6 million cubic yards were removed from the 5 counties and 2 state parks
  • The bulk of the material was removed in 90 days
  • In Hart County, BES removed over 200,000 cubic yards in less than 30 days
  • In Ballard County, BES was instrumental in the removal of over 300,000 cubic yards
  • Operations were limited to daylight hours, dawn to dusk, due to safety requirements and adverse terrain in many of the locations
  • The volume of debris collected was calculated by conventional load tickets generated in field and delivered to various TDSRS locations project-wide, a method consistent with FEMA’s Public Assistance requirements for compliant debris management operations
  • BES was paid on actual volumes hauled and accounted for by KYTC validated tickets
  • BES was not tasked with the actual debris reduction operations or site management (KYTC actually contracted direct with local companies to perform that function); however, BES was tasked with coordinating site operations with the local companies to ensure seamless operations
  • Without the collaboration of all parties, led by BES, and strategic debris planning the project would not have been competed in the time frame it was
  • BES further assisted the KYTC with acquisition and setup of other key debris sites to support and expedite operations


  • Much of the body wood generated from the tree removals and trimming was salvaged by local loggers and sold in the paper markets and the mulch was lawfully disposed of at paper mills for boiler fuel
  • Mulch was also agriculturally applied for soil enrichment
  • BES worked closely with KYTC and the Kentucky Department of Health and Natural Resources to ensure compliance with applicable regulations
  • To reduce the impacts the ice storm had on the rural communities affected, BES bought materials, fuel, and services from local small businesses to help support the local community
  • Our rapid debris removal operations helped quickly stimulate the local economy because, once the streets were cleared and trees were trimmed, businesses could re-open
  • Additionally, the influx of hundreds of workers further stimulated the local economy because our workers were patrons of local businesses.


  • BES received letters of commendation from all 5 counties and the Governor’s office outlining the quality of work. Click here to read them.