What do you think 102 million dead trees mean for wildfire danger in California?


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The number of dead trees in California’s drought-stricken forests has risen dramatically to more than 102 million in what officials described as an unparalleled ecological disaster that heightens the danger of massive wildfires and damaging erosion.

Officials said they were alarmed by the increase in dead trees, which they estimated to have risen by 36 million since the government’s last survey in May. The U.S. Forest Service, which performs such surveys of forest land, said Friday that 62 million trees have died this year alone….

Scientists say five years of drought are to blame for much of the destruction. The lack of rain has put California’s trees under considerable stress, making them more susceptible to the organisms, such as beetles, that can kill them. Unusually high temperatures have added to the trees’ demand for water, exacerbating an already grim situation…

Although California enjoyed a wet start to the water year in Northern California, the central and southern parts of the state remain locked in what federal officials classify as “extreme” and “exceptional” drought.

Sooner or later – hopefully, the former – folks will realize that climate change means more than a couple paragraphs about global warming. Distorted climates produce untypical environments, often ending in disaster.

11 thoughts on “What do you think 102 million dead trees mean for wildfire danger in California?

  1. Gonners says:

    Dieback from Fusarium fungus (carried by southeast Asian polyphagous shot hole borers), is also expected to kill an additional 26.8 million trees across Southern California in the next few years, which will be almost 40 percent of the trees from Los Angeles to the Nevada border and south to Mexico. https://www.wired.com/2017/05/trees-will-die-will/
    In 2013, after the emerald ash borer killed a 100 million trees across 15 states, US Forest Service research determined that areas with ash borer infestations and concomitant loss in tree cover had 6.8 additional deaths per year per 100,000 adults from respiratory disease, and 16.7 deaths from cardiovascular disease. This suggests the loss of 100 million dead trees – roughly 3 percent of tree cover on average – killed 21,193 people.
    See also “The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health” http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(12)00804-5/fulltext

  2. McLeod says:

    California Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci tells the U.S. Forest Service chief that the agency’s failure to pay the state $18 million for fighting wildfires on federal lands last year may force California to stop responding to fires in national forests. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-wildfire-costs-20170707-story.html
    FYI: the USFS is known for letting wildfires get out of control before turning to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) for assistance http://calfire.ca.gov/about/about

    • McLeod says:

      “Beyond the concepts of ‘land management’ are real people, sacrifice” http://nmpoliticalreport.com/352495/beyond-the-concepts-of-land-management-are-real-people-sacrifice/ “…In the History Grove in northern New Mexico, many of these trees have stood for hundreds of years. They’ve presided over the warp and woof of changes in New Mexico’s history—the movement of tribes, the arrival of the Spanish, creation of the Land Grants, generations of herders and cowboys and the establishment of parks and public lands. There’s another story there now, too.
      There isn’t a proper way to thank any of the fire crews, especially the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but those ponderosa pines that make the air smell like warm vanilla are still standing today because of the men and women who put themselves—their smartest plans, their tools and labor, their teamwork and their hearts—between the flames and the trees.”

  3. No trees/No fires says:

    “The West is in the midst of another intense wildfire season. Recent weeks have seen dangerous fires from Nevada to Montana; a state of emergency has been declared in Arizona. With President Donald Trump proposing to cut the Forest Service’s firefighting budget by nearly $300 million, the question of how to manage and fund wildfire suppression on public lands has again reared its head.
    Over the past decade, as wildfire season has lengthened and fires have grown more severe, firefighting has claimed more and more of the Forest Service’s funds, accounting for 56 percent of its overall budget in 2016. Conservatives in Congress have long tried to push legislation that, though ostensibly geared toward wildfire risk reduction, would benefit the timber industry. And with a Republican majority and an administration intent on rolling back environmental review processes, such legislation may gain more traction this time around.”
    http://www.hcn.org/articles/wildfire-will-this-be-the-year-that-congress-fixes-wildfire-funding

  4. Big Ernie says:

    “The New Normal: California Forest Fires Have Doubled in Size : This Year 3,449 Wildfires Have Already Consumed 92,439 Acres” http://www.independent.com/news/2017/jul/13/california-forest-fires-have-doubled-size/
    Currently more than 50 large, active wildfires are burning across the U.S. West as forecasters warn that hot, dry conditions could persist, creating tinderbox conditions. Red flag warnings were issued for Northern California and parts of other states, where the National Weather Service said temperatures could reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit 32 degrees Celsius) and winds to gust 50 miles (80 km) per hour. Flames have charred more than twice as much land in California so far in 2017 compared with a year earlier, according to Cal Fire. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-wildfires-idUSKBN1A00SF

  5. Mike says:

    Trailer: Santa Fe-filmed firefighting epic ‘Only the Brave’ (Santa Fe New Mexican) http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/blogs/trailer-santa-fe-filmed-firefighting-epic-only-the-brave/article_21b70216-6cc8-11e7-b1f2-4b015a86e447.html
    “19: The True Story of the Yarnell Hill Fire” (Outside) https://www.outsideonline.com/1926426/19-true-story-yarnell-hill-fire “The Granite Mountain Hotshots Yarnell Fire Investigation | No Exit (GQ) http://www.gq.com/long-form/no-exit State of Arizona Serious Accident Investigation report http://www.iawfonline.org/Yarnell_Hill_Fire_report.pdf Note: “Key evidence in Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy never provided to official investigators” http://www.investigativemedia.com/key-evidence-in-yarnell-hill-fire-tragedy-never-provided-to-official-investigators/
    See also http://www.wildfirelessons.net/home

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