Dry winter could stress Arizona's ponderosa pines

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(Source: U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest) (Source: U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Northern Arizona has missed out on a white Christmas, and if the lack of snowfall continues, scientists say there will likely be more far-reaching effects on the region's pine trees.

Scientists tell the Arizona Daily Sun that without enough winter moisture, the trees will be more susceptible to bark beetles and disease, all of which lead to tree mortality.

[RELATED: The 103-day dry streak is concerning]

John Anhold with the U.S. Forest Service described the conditions as super dry.

The below-normal precipitation expected for this winter will also affect Flagstaff's water sources and supply balance going into next year, while the dry weather has already been a game-changer for prescribed fire operations this fall.

On the Coconino forest alone, it has allowed fire crews to do low-intensity understory burns on about 50 percent more acreage than normal.

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