Guardian.UK: Drought kills more than 102m trees in California, posing risk of huge wildfires.

Our forest service here in NM told us, after the bark beetle devastation of '03, that the fire risk drops significantly after the needles fall. Bare trunks are unsightly, but safer. Interestingly, Los Alamos National Labs went through and clearcut whole canyons of dead pinons. Today, you'd never know what happened 13 years ago.