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On Thursday, October 29, 2015, the Governor of California proclaimed a State of Emergency addressing the estimated 22 million dead trees and the tens of millions more that are likely to die this year statewide.  Lack of precipitation over the last four years has made trees in many regions of the State susceptible to epidemic infestation of native bark beetles, which are constrained under normal circumstance by the defense mechanisms of healthy trees.  

This die-off is of such scale that it worsens wildfire risk in vulnerable areas of the County and presents life safety risks from falling trees to residents. Due to the magnitude of the dying trees Statewide the Governor’s Proclamation allows for local assistance from the State in addressing the tree mortality.  The Governor also wrote a letter to federal Agriculture Secretary Vilsack requesting US Forest Service support and partnership in these efforts. Federal assistance would allow additional resources for the safe removal of dead and dying trees.

With heavy rain expected over the winter season, addressing dead and dying trees will help reduce additional consequences faced during heavy rain, wind and debris flows. The proclamation will allow County departments to work with State agencies to address effected trees in the County.  The County will coordinate with the newly formed State Tree Mortality Task Force to coordinate emergency protective actions and monitor ongoing conditions.

As a reminder, Los Angeles County residents, renters, and business owners, including persons with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, may also call 211 LA County for emergency preparedness information and other referral services. The toll-free 2-1-1 number is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 211 LA County services can also be accessed by visiting http://211la.org.