“Unprecedented” Die-Off Of Millions Of Trees In California Raises Alarm

In just the last eight months, 26 million trees have died, officials say. Drought and bark beetle infestations are the primary culprits behind the massive die-off.

Scott Smith / AP

Mike Blake / Reuters

An “unprecedented” die-off has killed at least 66 million trees in California since 2010 — including 26 million in just the last eight months — as extreme drought and bark beetles infestations grip the state.

The survey released Wednesday by U.S. Forest Service officials said the 26 million newly-identified dead trees are located in California's southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

“Tree dies-offs of this magnitude are unprecedented and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires that puts property and lives at risk,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

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