During the Comstock era an estimated 80 percent of Lake Tahoe Basin forests were clear cut to provide timber for building Virginia City and the miles of mineshafts it sat upon. The legacy of the Comstock harvest is a Tahoe area forest, which has little age, size, or spatial diversity. The aggressive suppression of fire during the intervening century resulted in overstocking of small, shade tolerant (understory) trees and an abundance of downed woody fuels. The stresses of drought, which struck in the early 1990's and 2000's, and fierce competition among overstocked stands, have led to widespread tree mortality. Understory tree growth, forming a ladder fuel and a massive buildup of fuels create a high risk of crown fire in the Basin.