Several years of drought and an accompanying tree-eating beetle epidemic have had a devastating effect on California’s tree population. According to a statement released by the U.S. Forest Service Friday more than 102 million trees have died across the state since 2010, a drastically higher number than an earlier estimate of 66 million.
CAL FIRE forces have been hard at work to remove these dead trees, which pose a threat to roads and power lines. The state has dedicated $6 million to purchase equipment for removing dead and dying trees in high-hazard zones.
“Although the epidemic tree mortality we are facing is devastating, it has galvanized partnerships at all levels, and focused renewed interests on forest health,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “With disaster comes opportunity, and we will continue our work to remove the dead and dying trees that pose the greatest risk to public safety and private property.”
More than $10 million from the state has been earmarked for local projects to help combat tree mortality, primarily for the removal of sick and dying trees located around homes.