Dead trees become fuel for wildfire.

Tiny insect creatures—bark beetles—and drought are a deadly combination.  Together they are killing millions of trees, greatly increasing the risk of wildfire in California.

Bark beetles have been in California longer than people. The beetles aren’t dangerous under normal circumstances, but when trees are weakened due to lack of water from prolonged drought, they are more susceptible to attacks from bark beetles. Once attacked by bark beetles, the tree will die.  More than 102 million trees, mostly conifers, have already died from drought and bark beetles in California. In some communities, up to 85 percent of the forest trees have been killed, becoming dry fuel, just waiting to go up in flames.

What can be done? By being proactive you can make a very important difference to help reduce your wildfire risk; first by removing dead trees on your property, especially around your home. Next, homeowners should properly maintain the trees on their property by thinning overgrown trees, removing dense underbrush, and watering high- value trees as necessary depending on weather conditions. All of these steps will help create a healthy, more resilient forest for generations to come.

What To Do

If you think bark beetles may be infesting trees on your property, check out this information:

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FAQs—Get answers to frequently asked questions.

CAL FIRE awards grants to fund projects aimed at reducing wildfire threat in high tree-mortality areas. Read press release for full details.

View map showing areas with greatest amounts of tree mortality due to bark beetles and drought.