For the first time, scientists have found a deadly plant disease infecting fir trees in the Pacific Northwest. The so-called “European” strain of sudden oak death showed up in southwest Oregon a few years back. It was known to spread to fir trees in Europe, but that hadn’t been seen in the state. The European strain is different from the North American strain of sudden oak death. The latter has been killing tanoak throughout Curry County for years, but the European strain has forest managers particularly worried – because of its potential to infect the commercial timber base. It’s now the subject of a new study published in the journal, Plant Disease. “This report shows that it is able to infect Douglas fir and grand fir. And it’s doing it in the forest,” said Oregon State University forest pathologist Jared LeBoldus, lead author of the study.