Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley is pushing the idea to allow the export of dead trees from the local national forests to try to make at least a small dent in what could easily be a looming catastrophe at our doorsteps this summer.
“If we don’t do something dramatic, there is going to be an explosion of wildfires sometime soon,” he said, given the huge increase in tree mortality measured in a recent aerial survey.
Current law bans export of logs from the national forest put in place years ago upon the urging of the local logging industry to limit competition. But in large part that industry is long gone.
Meanwhile, Worthley said there is a potential calamity at our back door due to years of drought and insect infestation, “with the number of forest trees dying increasing from 29 million to 66 million in just the past year,” according to a US Forest Service survey.