Wildfire

illustration depicting defensible space and showing CALFIRE and Forest Service Logos

 

Dead trees with red needles, are more flammable than live trees. Once the needles are gone, the standing dead trees generally do not pose an increased risk of wildfire. When the trees eventually fall to the ground, the potential to increase fire severity returns with the increased amount of fuel on the forest floor.

  • Reducing fuels in WUI areas remain a priority for the Forest Service.
  • Dead trees with red needles, whether killed by bark beetles or other agents, are more flammable than live trees. However, once the needles are gone, the standing dead trees generally do not pose an increased risk of wildfire. As the trees eventually fall to the ground, increasing downed fuel loads have the potential to again increase fire severity.
  • Fire is a fundamental part of the natural ecosystem. Most of the vegetation in California has evolved with fire and, in many cases, relies on fire to sustain its health and presence on the landscape. However, fire around homes or other infrastructures is usually not desirable.
  • Fires are a natural part of forested landscapes, but each year the fire season is coming earlier and ending later. In addition, the fires themselves are burning hotter and have become more damaging and dangerous.
  • Approximately 66 million trees, mostly conifers (pines), have died from drought and bark beetles in California. In some communities, up to 85 percent of forest trees have died, becoming dry fuel for wildfire.
  • Decades of fire suppression has led to the build-up of fuels in forests. The forests are crowded with dense stands of mature, water stressed trees that will readily burn during a large forest fire. The likelihood of a fire occurring depends on the ignition source. Observation of recent wildfires has shown that dead trees ignited easily and burned hotter and faster than the living trees containing minimal moisture, but all of the vegetation, both living and dead, burned during the wind driven firestorm.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/catreemortality/home/?cid=fseprd499698