(By Chris Sharp) Of course, as soon as I write the words “Giving Tree,” I feel duty-bound to give credit to Shel Silverstein, the author whose children’s book by that title in 1964 became a permanent part of our national culture, almost immediately.

Indeed, the idea of the Giving Tree has landed on several levels of our domestic existence since 1964.

Perhaps it is easiest to designate our Giving Tree as the tree that is closest to our house, even in our front yard.  For example, we learned our unforgettable front-yard mulberry tree on Solon Avenue in Canyon Country was practically human, in the way that he/she in time of drought would almost lift up our house with his/her monstrous roots in search of water for his/her precious fruit.  But on normal days our darling mulberry tree was the hit of every family birthday party as he/she steadfastly held up each piñata for every family member with family friends participating in the party.

Of course, the family front-lawn tree is always expected to do even more for the families that board them, including becoming the foundation of swing sets for the children, or becoming a foundation for a tree house, or just something to be there when you want to get away from the world to climb into the arms of a tree.  Or for an older adult, the front-lawn tree and its spreading shade can offer the peace of a good little country church with its doors always open to you.

But today our family Giving Trees are at risk, and they really need our help.

In fact, there is increasing heat steadily settling to around the trees in California.  Your Giving Tree may have survived the past five years, but in that period thousands and thousands of that tree’s cousins and extended family have been destroyed in these record fire seasons.

But at first, this unprecedented decade of fire in California was simply concentrating on destroying the trees in the forest.  Few houses were destroyed, and I believed at first only one person died in these first couple of years of extended wildfires in California.

But last year alone in California over 700 houses and mansions were destroyed and many, many people have been killed. The destruction has increased as the climate over the year has grown excessively hotter in the state.  According to the American Meteorological Society, 2017 was the second hottest year of recorded temperatures in all world history.  The year 2016 was the hottest.

Read more here: A Sharp View:  Are you taking care of your Giving Tree?