Recent studies have shown that trees in our forests are dying at an astonishing rate, particularly in the Southern Sierra. The combination of five years of drought, added to higher infestations of bark beetles, and warmer winters, are taking a huge toll on the pines and firs of the Sierra.
And, of course, millions of dead trees add to the fire danger every year.
Here's a link to a study by the USFS
Let's hope this early and heavy rainfall is the beginning of a long wet winter, with some long periods of extended cold to kill off more of those beetles...