Tree Mortality in California: 129 Million

Mike Archer, who edits the Wildfire News of the Day newsletter, sent along a link to a Cal Fire press release issued today.

“The U.S. Forest Service today announced that an additional 27 million trees, mostly conifers, died throughout California since November 2016, bringing the total number of trees that have died due to drought and bark beetles to an historic 129 million on 8.9 million acres. The dead trees continue to pose a hazard to people and critical infrastructure, mostly centered in the central and southern Sierra Nevada region of the state.”

Randy Moore, Regional Forester, says “we need to fix how fire suppression is funded.”


13 thoughts on “Tree Mortality in California: 129 Million”

  1. Who can tell us why the USFS per acre suppression costs are higher than either the BLM or National Park Service? The higher costs are part of the agency’s budget problem.
    My experience is that the landscapes the three agencies manage are pretty similar in the western U.S.

  2. Better yet, we need to manage our national forests to increase health, resilience, and resistance to fire, disease, insects and drought. The F.S. is now harvesting 8% of the annual growth on national forest unreserved timberlands while 65% dies. ty. Current legislation (HR 2936, The Resilient Federal Forests Act pf 2017) addresses many of the reasons for the current management failure. We know how to reduce mortality. Now let’s do it!

    Does the U.S. Forest Service take a position on this bill?

  3. Interesting timing for this press release, eh? I mean, for the past couple of months California has seen some very remarkable, historic wildfires around Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, Ventura and Los Angeles.

    So now all the news outlets will start talking about 129 million dead trees as they flip over to coverage of the flames in LA.

    Well, perhaps I’m just pointing out the obvious here to anyone who bothers to dig into this issue a little bit, but all those historic wildfires around Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, Ventura and Los Angeles, etc have, for the most part, next to nothing to do with all the dead trees sitting a few hundred miles to the east.

    • Sometimes, it takes an unrelated event to do the right thing. The Healthy Forest Restoration Act was considered, and approved, under a similar scenario.

  4. Matthew, I think the timing may also have to do with the push for legislation to change suppression funding..unless it passed and I missed it.

  5. Here is a fine example of the scope of the bark beetles. Remember, many of these that appear to be green are ‘brain-dead’, disconnected from their roots.,-118.5560566,214m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    Additionally, all of these snags are currently ‘protected’ from harvest under National Monument status and a court ruling against the original Monument plans. This area is ready for a firestorm similar to the Rim Fire. We’ve already seen the McNally Fire.


Leave a Comment