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.