The Drought Ended, So Why is California's Fire Season Getting Worse?

July 17, 2018

At the current pace, the two fire season's since California's five-year drought ended will be the worst on record. The wildfires that torched California in 2017 caused historic levels of death and destruction, but the fierce start to the season in 2018 indicates this year could be equally challenging for overworked crews. While California saw heavy precipitation two years ago, the landscape is still parched and groundwater is depleted from years of low rainfall and little snowpack. Adding yet another dimension to the problem, the forests suffered through years of drought leading up to 2017, and the state estimates that since Dec. 2016 some 129 million trees have died due to drought and insect infestation. That's a staggering 2 million trees a month. "The fact is millions of trees die every year, and there are millions of little seedlings that don't make it,"says ARE/ESPM professor Keith Gilless. "But when you have this many big trees dead, it's pretty different. The fuel load is very high." Read the article