Federal forestry officials said on Monday that the die-off of trees in California forests slowed down in 2018 partly because the state has been receiving more rain.
But the U.S. Forest Service is warning that dead trees will continue to present a hazard to people and infrastructure, especially in the central and southern Sierra Nevada regions where they can provide plenty of fuel for future wildfires.
A survey found 18 million trees died in 2018, compared to 27 million in 2017. In all, over 147 million trees have died in California dating back to 2010, which was the year a five-year-long statewide drought began.
the end of that drought was officially declared last year following a wet winter which soaked much of the state in rain and left the Sierra covered in snow. Despite all the precipitation in California in 2017, the state has seen some of its worst wildfires in recorded history since then.