Years of drought conditions and wildfires have taken a toll of trees.
More than 100 million trees have died.
Firefighters said that increases the risk of wildfires and injuries.
When firefighters fought the Rey fire and the Chimney fires in other fire in the Los Padres National Forest this fire season members of the US Forest Service were mourning a hot shot named Justin Beebe.
In August Beebe was killed when a dead tree fell on him while he was fighting the Strawberry Fire at Great Basin National Park.
Certified arborists Gill Martinez, with Branch Out Tree Service in Santa Barbara County, said, “No tree is considered safe.”
Investigators are still trying to determine whether a rotting tree contributed to the Rey Fire that started off Paradise Road in the White Rock day use camp.
It appears a tree limb that fell on power lines and communication lines sparked the first flames.
U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Pancho Smith said the area is still taped off for the investigation.
Arborists said the giant tree appeared weakened by wood decay that some people call root rot.
Smith said, “You will see our crews tagging those hazard trees, anything that can fall on a person, anything that would affect the safety of our firefighters.”
He said there is no moisture to stop the fire.
“The tree does not have the ability to repel the fire, to not burn, because there is no moisture in there to stop the fire, so as a consequence they catch on fire faster and burn hotter,” said Smith.
As many as 10 arborists worked the Rey fire.
Gil Martinez who used to be a firefighter said it is sad to see big trees fall when they are impacted by fungus and bacteria.
Rangers are advising people not to park or camp under Oak trees that could pose a threat.
As for home tree care, Martinez said it costs less to trim trees than to cut them down when they die.
But it’s not about money. Arborists and firefighters agree; taking good care of trees prevents fires and saves lives.