Lisa had already gone to work when I came out with the camera. This is one of several trees of heaven growing on this property, and is probably a "sucker" off the tree where we have the bird feeder. However, this particular plant produced almost no growth this year and given that it's a weed of a tree anyway, we decided to take it out if we can.
The electric chainsaw is the right tool for the job here. Before she brought out the chainsaw, she used the "poleaxe" (long saw on the end of an extendable pole) to trim many of the upper branches. She also had me move the minivan in case the tree fell the wrong way.
As Lisa cut down the multiple trunks, I pulled them out of the way to a pile of lawn debris that Lisa had previously cut away from the fence line. She also cut down the smaller tree-of-heaven that is also probably a sucker from the original.
At right you can see the stump of the severed tree. I used the wheelbarrow to haul the smaller branches and the pile of yard debris to a pile we're making away from the house in anticipation of it being safe to burn lawn debris again later this year when burn permits are available. We'll have to dig up that stump, as tree-of-heaven is notorious at regenerating from a stump. Indeed, its ability to thrive in distressed and difficult areas like here is one of the reasons people planted it in these parts in the first place.
As Lisa put away the tools, I made a stack of larger branches that we will reduce down to firewood-sized pieces later. I probably should leave this out to dry for a year before it's suitable for burning, although as the tree was half-dead, it may be halfway dried out anyway.
We're doing what we can as our energy permits to clear brush from our fence line and to create some defensible space. However, with the amount of smoke in the air, there are definite limits to how much outside work we feel like we can do. Lisa wore her high-grade respirator, and I wore a cotton face mask soaked in cold water. Lisa said the respirator worked well. I, however, had a headache after only an hour of yard work.