Legislator asks feds for help with bark beetles | AspenTimes.com

Legislator asks feds for help with bark beetles

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

KEYSTONE, Colo. ” State Rep. Christine Scanlan is headed to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with members of Congress and the U.S. Forest Service about getting more help to battle the state’s bark beetle epidemic.

The Democrat from Dillon is vice chairwoman of the state interim committee on wildfires. Federal, state and local officials in Colorado the huge swaths of trees killed by the beetles pose a big wildfire risk.

“We’ve worked very hard the last two years to educate the public about the bark beetle scourge and to address the problem as best we can with our limited resources,” Scanlan at a press conference in Keystone Sunday. “We’ve been as creative as possible. But at some point duct tape just isn’t enough. Congress needs to supply the hammer and nails.”

Scanlan planned to meet with members of Congress and others Wednesday. She’ll will join Rick Cables, Rocky Mountain regional forester for the Forest Service, and Jeff Jahnke, director of the Colorado State Forest Service, in Washington.

At the request of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Cables compiled an estimate detailing the funding needed to more aggressively attack the bark beetle problem.

The beetles, which burrow under the trees’ bark, have already killed about 1.5 million acres of lodgepole pines in the mountains in central Colorado. The infestation has moved to lower elevations where it threatens ponderosa pine forests, too.

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