Washington October 17, 2016 – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is designating $11 million to help complete 10 dead tree removal projects on 12,000 acres of California’s national forests. Feinstein last month urged USDA to take this action. 

“USDA has designated $11 million to remove dead trees on 12,000 acres of California’s Stanislaus, Sierra, El Dorado and Sequoia national forests, an important step forward. More federal investment will be needed to remove the dead trees most likely to fuel destructive wildfires, but these funds are a down payment to begin to address this crisis and reduce the risk to public safety. Trees that pose a threat to people and property will be removed—there will not be clear cutting. I thank Secretary Vilsack for his quick response to my request.

“Five years of punishing drought and resulting pest infestations have resulted in 66 million dead trees in California’s forests. According to firefighting officials, about 5.5 million of these trees pose a particularly high risk to people and property. They are most likely to contribute to increasingly destructive and unpredictable fires near population centers and fall on roads, power lines and homes.

“California has already suffered through more than 6,000 fires this year, burning more than 630,000 acres, killing seven and destroying more than 1,270 homes and other structures. If California is ever going to get a handle on these increasingly damaging and volatile wildfires, we need to address the root of the problem and remove the highest-risk dead trees.”