(AP) - Several California organizations are pitching in to remove dead trees in the state.
The Fresno Bee reports that many of the state's ponderosa pines are dying from a combination of drought and Western bark beetles, which drill into drought-weakened trees.
Officials say the dead could provide fuel for potentially devastating fires.
Madera and Fresno counties have been hit particularly hard. Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes parts of those counties, says he is trying to move $200 million from the U.S. Department of Interior land acquisition programs into tree removal.
Caltrans plan to remove more than 40,000 trees along highways this year, while the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued several fire-prevention grants. The state's two largest electric companies are also removing dead and dying trees.