Danger: Hot Spots Ahead

The dousing of the Southern California wildfires has hardly ended the risk to U.S. forests. Years of drought and insect epidemics have also left millions of dead and dying trees across the Southeast. An infestation of the southern pine beetle that began in 1999 has killed a million acres of pine trees from Virginia to Alabama. Those dead trees--most either still standing or cut down and left to decay--are a potential tinderbox. A wetter, more humid climate makes a California-size conflagration unlikely. Still, there are dangers.

--By Elisabeth Kauffman


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