Dry weather in California and growing fire risks are prompting a new effort to cull dead trees affected by bark beetles and use them to make electricity

California’s record four-year drought has primed its coastal forests for a bug invasion. Millions of native bark beetles, which thrive in warm conditions, are burrowing into trees weakened by a lack of water, leaving in their wake dry, dead wood that becomes natural tinder. The beetles and drought have already killed off 29m trees, with tens of millions more expected to become casualties.

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a California company, decided to turn the serious fire hazard into a source of low-carbon energy. It received the state’s approval last week. PG&E plans to clear away dead or dying trees close to its power lines and use them to produce electricity.

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Source: Guardian Environment