FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say the California drought has now killed more than 102 million trees.
The U.S. Forest Service said Friday that an aerial survey shows more than a 100 percent increase in dead trees across the state since 2015.
Officials blame California’s five-year drought and bark beetle infestations that can strike as a result.
They reported finding 36 million more dead trees since May.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the massive die-off increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires, putting people and property in danger.
He called on Congress to act, saying more money is going to fighting fires than forestry management.
Officials say most dead trees are in the central and southern Sierra Nevada.
However, they’re also beginning to find dead trees in Northern California.