Scientists have discovered a record number of dead fir trees in Oregon, a foreboding sign of how drought and the climate crisis are ravaging the American West.
A recent aerial survey found that more than a million acres of forest contain trees that have succumbed to stressors exacerbated by a multiyear drought. Images released by the US Forest Service show Oregon’s lush green expanses dotted with ominous swathes of red.
“It is stunning,” said Daniel DePinte, an aerial survey program manager with the Forest Service who led the agency’s Pacific Northwest region aerial survey, noting that this year saw the highest mortality rate for firs in this area in history. These evergreen conifers are less able to survive in drought conditions than other heartier trees that line the landscapes.
He and his colleagues scanned