is stunning,” said Daniel DePinte, an aerial survey program manager with the Forest Service who led the agency’s Pacific north-west 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 the slopes from planes several times between June and October, detailing the devastation on digital maps. During that time, it became clear that this year would be unlike anything he had seen before. The report is still being finalized but dead trees were spotted in areas across 1.1m acres of Oregon forest. The scientists have taken to dubbing it “firmageddon”.
“The size of this is enormous,” DePinte said. “A lot of people out there think climate change is just impacting the ice caps or some low-level island out there but it is actually impacting right here in our backyard,” he added. “If this drought continues as climate change keeps on, and we continue ignoring what nature is showing us across the globe – it doesn’t bode well at all.”