Environment & Science

California declares emergency from massive tree die-off

Large bark beetle.
Large bark beetle.
Flickr/Cyndy Sims Parr

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency to help California address a bark beetle infestation that is killing tens of millions of trees.

The governor sent a letter Friday to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack seeking federal action for "the worst epidemic of tree mortality in its modern history."

The tree die-off is exacerbated by four years of extreme drought conditions, which has left trees vulnerable to the native beetles.

The United States Forest Service estimates that more than 22 million trees have already died in California.

Brown is asking the federal government for additional funding and help for private landowners to remove dead and dying trees.

Friday's proclamation is just the latest in California's response to the drought.