As a result, at least 12.5 million trees in the state’s national forests have died, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
This statistic was determined from an aerial survey conducted by the forest service last month. They found nearly one million acres of dead trees. This figure is expected to increase as the drought faces upcoming summer months.
In addition to drought, bark beetles are taking advantage of the dry, brittle trees. According to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of University of California, Davis, trees need plenty of water to produce natural resin, which is the primary defense against bark beetles.
Tom Smith, a forest pest management specialist of 15 years for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“This is the worst I’ve seen.”
With the drought and threat of bark beetles, California has seen a 70% increase in wild fires just this year.
The California Natural Resources Agency urges Californians to be extra cautious with fire, considering 95% of fires are human caused and California spends more on combatting fires than 10 western states combined.
With less money spent on human-caused fires, California would have more resources to quench wildfires and possibly fight the state-wide drought. Individuals need to take it upon themselves to be proactive with fire hazards as well conserving water. While it was terrific that ALS gained national awareness and monumental fundraising, can we please avoid doing another precious resource-wasting challenge?