David McNew/Getty Images
A bald eagle perches in an oak tree on hills of pastureland that has turned of dirt and dead grass on February 5, 2014 near Visalia, California. Now in its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years and possible the worst in the past 500 years.
We all know how heat, drought, wind can increase the odds of a fire, but now there's another factor to think about: fungus.
Many oak trees in California have been afflicted by a fungus that cuts off its nutrients and water, eventually killing the tree and leaving more fuel for wild brush fires. Akif Eskalen, plant pathologist at UC Riverside, joins the show with more.