Unseasonably warm and dry winter giving Bark Beetles in the Sierra a second lease on life

The lack of snow and cold temperatures in the Sierra this winter is allowing a creature of the summer to live during a time when it should be dying.

The Bark Beetle has made a home in California the last several years due to the drought and a dry winter is only making the problem worse.

"The environmental conditions the last few years have lent themselves to the population getting much larger than it typically would be," said U.S. Forest Service Dean Gould.

The U.S. Forest Service says the Bark Beetle will only die off if there is snow with cold conditions in the high country.

"It is nice to get two or three years consecutively of good long cold sustain winters to get that population where it should normally it should be," said Gould.

In the last three years, 129-million trees have died in California because of the insect. 21 million of those trees died in Fresno County and that caused the county to declare a state of emergency back in 2015.

The Board of Supervisors extended that declaration on Tuesday.

"It is required by law that every 30 days we have to issue a new state of emergency to keep it current. The reason why that is so significant is that when to comes to getting reimbursements for our activities in the forest we have to have a current state of emergency in place," said Nathan Magsig.

Magsig says Fresno County spent 2.6 million dollars just last year alone to fight the Bark Beetle.

Most of that money came from grants and funds that were matched by the state.
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