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California Drought Claims 66 Million Dead Trees

Four years of punishing drought coupled with a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures has led to record levels of tree die-off. “Tree die-offs of this magnitude are unprecedented and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires that

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Four years of punishing drought coupled with a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures has led to record levels of tree die-off. “Tree die-offs of this magnitude are unprecedented and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires that put property and lives at risk,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While the fire risk is currently the most extreme in California because of the tree mortality, forests across the country are at risk of wildfire and urgently need restoration requiring a massive effort to remove this tinder and improve their health.” Continued elevated levels of tree mortality are projected during 2016, particularly in dense forest stands, stands impacted by root diseases or other stress agents, and in areas with higher levels of bark beetle activity.

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