Shortly after dawn this morning, a tree came crashing down on a house in Port Moody, landing on the roof just above the master bedroom and killing Port Moody resident Jill Calder while she slept.

While Calder was the only fatality of B.C.'s first major storm of 2016, many other trees fell in the Lower Mainland. That kept people like Tim Swain, an arborist with B.C. Tree Service in Vancouver, very busy.

"When people start waking up in the morning, the phone calls start coming in, and it's kind of battlestations getting everyone ready and head out basically all over the Lower Mainland," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

While Swain spent much of Thursday cleaning up damage, he also knows what to look for when it comes to dangerous trees.

He has some tips for homeowners who are concerned a tree on their property might be at risk of falling.

  • Look for obvious signs of damage: if you see things like the root base starting to lift up, dead branches, cracking, or even just less vigorous growth or you see the tree is just starting to "look different from previous years, it's time to call an arborist to have a look.
  • Be careful in dry spells: this happened last summer when a record-breaking drought was interrupted by torrential rains and gusting winds that knocked down many trees and cut power to thousands. The dry weather loosened up the soil, the rainwater saturated it and the winds pushed the trees down when their roots were weakened.
  • Watch out for trees in newly developed areas: sometimes when development happens, a tree that was once in the middle of a forested area can now be at the forest's edge, and be exposed to wind forces it is unaccustomed to.
  • Consult an arborist: an arborist does not necessarily need to remove a dangerous tree; even by just taking off some branches the amount of area the wind is pushing against can be reduced, improving the safety of a tree. An arborist will also be familiar with tree removal bylaws in your municipality.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Worried about a tree on your property? Here are 4 things to think about

With files from Liam Britten