May 18, 2016 12:41 PM by Hayley Skene
The U.S. Forest Service says California is heading into a dangerous fire season.
The 5-year-long drought is the catalyst behind the current fire threat; 40 million trees have died in the past few years.
Cal Fire Butte County North Division Chief David Hawks says that when the trees have less water to absorb, they can't defend themselves from bark beetles.
The current beetle infestation increased the death rate; 29 million trees died in the past year alone.
According to Hawks, the rainy season did help replenish some moisture in the soil, but not enough to cancel out the fact that there's dead, fire-prone kindling across the Central Sierras.
"You have a mix of dead material combined with live material, you throw in weather, with potential of lightening...all things play in concert with one another, at any given time we could have very severe fires," says Hawks.
Governor Jerry Brown has increased funds to state agencies like Cal Fire.
They're using the extra resources to clear away dead brush and vegetation in high risk areas.
Cal Fire encourages residents to educate themselves and do what they can to prepare for a fire.
Hawks says homeowners should clear away obstacles to create defensible space, and everyone should have an evacuation plan.
Thursday May 19th at 6 p.m. At the POA in Magalia, Cal Fire will hold a workshop for homeowners, with life saving information about fire prevention, evacuation and preparation.
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