The bark beetle infestation that destroyed large portions of forest in the southern Sierra Nevada’s has moved into the North State, killing millions of trees and adding fuel to an already dangerous wildfire season. And according to the U.S. Forest Service, the federal agency responsible for managing much of California’s forested lands, it is a problem that won’t be going away anytime soon. The ongoing drought throughout the West has made North State forests more susceptible to the beetles, according to the forest service. From 2010 to 2019, more than 163 million trees in California’s forests were killed, mostly by bark beetles, with the hardest-hit areas in the southern Sierra Nevada, according to the forest service. A 2019 forest service survey showed more than 3.7 million trees killed in just three North State national forests: the Lassen, Klamath and Shasta-Trinity. Todd Hamilton, a silviculturist with the national forest said of the situation, “What we have ahead of us, what we have in front of us, we can’t get ahead of. Not the way we’re staffed.” Hamilton went onto say that “You have downed logs, more vegetation is going to grow and if you do get a fire in there again, or when…” Joe Stubbendick, a Shasta-Trinity recreation officer said, finishing Hamilton’s sentence, “It’s gonna burn really hot and be very hazardous to any kind of firefighting resources you put in there.”
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Drought and bark beetle kill millions of trees, increase wildfire risk in North State forests