“Fires are a major California headache. The rains helped to reduce the destruction of trees, but in spite of this, all forests are in danger,” said a wildfire expert from California.
Large-scale fires destroyed many of California's forests. On Monday, the state governor declared that forest fires destroyed about 20 million trees last year. In 2016, California’s forests killed more than 60 million trees. According to NBC News, experts said that more extensive fires and damages this year as the air temperature rises. But, experts hope that a wet winter, snow and rain will help avoid a catastrophe and prevent drought. Over the past 10 years, fires have destroyed nearly 150 million trees in California.
“After analyzing the situation last year, we concluded that all of California’s forests are at great risk,” Thom Porter (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) told NBC News.
“As a result of droughts, diseases and fires, we will lose a lot of trees this year,” Porter added.
"Dead trees are becoming more dangerous, because they are set on fire instantly. Now, this is one of the biggest problems that can lead to tragedy," said Scott Stephens Professor of the University of California.
California authorities said that only heavy rainfall over the next three years can restore the health of trees and forests. This means that only snow and rain can save trees from drought and various diseases. Despite the wettest winters and heavy rainfall in 2017, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows some parts of California that are considered "abnormally dry."
"All tress have a special sap that provides their immune system. The amount of this juice decreases due to excessive drought, so the trees are starting to die," Scott McLean (California Department of Forestry) said.
For 4 years (from 2010 to 2014) California forests have lost about 2 million trees. Anomalous drought killed 29.5 million trees in 2015 and 61 million in 2016. Large-scale fires in 2017 destroyed 29.8 million trees. Some experts argue that most trees also die because of the materials used in extinguishing fires. Local politicians said that they would consider extinguishing methods and find new solutions.
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