California’s drought continues to worsen the state of its forests, as the latest aerial surveys released Nov. 25 showed 102 million trees are expected dead throughout the state, an increase of 36 million since May.
“These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur and pose a host of threats to life and property,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
Tree mortality is one of the most significant issues for the Mountain Area, highlighting town hall meetings as hundreds of new workers arrive to clean up the forests while campgrounds have been shut down at Bass Lake and other locations.
U.S. Forest Service officials told the Associated Press that trees are expected to die into next year, largely in the central and southern Sierra Nevada.
When Gov. Jerry Brown issued a tree mortality state of emergency in October of 2015, some 22 million were expected to die. With the U.S. Forest Service results on Friday, that means another 80 million are predicted to wither, leaving California’s forests a further shade of brown.