PRATHER, Calif. (KFSN) --With wildfire season fast approaching, several agencies came together for a community meeting Thursday night. The goal was to teach residents living in the central Sierra Nevada how to protect their property and their own lives.
For many living near parched forest land, April is the beginning of a stressful season.
"Yeah, we try not to take a vacation during fire season," said Max Montgomery, Meadow Lakes.
The threat of wildfires propelled neighbors, like Montgomery, to attend a community meeting Thursday night. CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service were among those briefing families.
"The tree mortality concerns us. The fire behavior expected out of those places will be extreme," said Daniel Tune, Fire Prevention Captain.
Experts said they've seen more moisture this year than last, but trees are still dying at a record pace. Twenty-nine million died in 2015, that number expected to rise in 2016.
"The trees are stressed, and the bark beetle is able to attack those trees easier, so they continue to spread as the trees are weak," said Jim McDougald, Division Chief.
Firefighters have been working to clear space for fire breaks. The forest service has been focusing on protecting campgrounds.
"We drop trees, which means we cut them down. We need to pay particular attention to the fuel we are concerned about, which are needles and small twigs," said Tune.
Last year, the Sierra National Forest removed 34,000 trees. They are asking neighbors to be diligent too and to get rid of dead trees and create defensible space. An expensive, but necessary, solution.
"Rather than have that tree fall on your house, or contribute to a fast moving fire-- definitely worth it," said Tune.
Important advice to not only save property but also save lives.