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Drought kills 66 million trees in California's Sierra: Feds

This June 6, 2016 photo shows patches of dead and dying trees near Cressman, Calif. The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday, June 22, 2016, that the number of trees in California's Sierra Nevada forests killed by drought and a bark beetle epidemic has dramatically increased since last year.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Scott Smith
June 23, 2016 - 6:00 AM

FRESNO, Calif. - Officials say the number of trees in California's Sierra Nevada forests killed by drought and a bark beetle epidemic has dramatically increased since last year.

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday its newest figures. It found 66 million dead trees, up 65 per cent from the last count in the central and southern Sierra hardest hit by the epidemic.

Gov. Jerry Brown last year declared California's tree die-off an emergency.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the unprecedented epidemic creates a high risk of catastrophic wildfires, endangering lives.

He calls on Congress to increase spending to manage forests in California and nation-wide.

The Sierra Club California's Kathryn Phillips says the die-off from drought signals the urgency to curb pollution.

She says policy makers must do more to stop climate change.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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