U.S. Forest Service to treat 15,000 acres for bark beetles | AspenTimes.com

U.S. Forest Service to treat 15,000 acres for bark beetles

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The U.S. Forest Service plans work on 15,000 acres ” more than twice as much land as last year ” to manage the bark beetle infestation in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.

The agency said Friday that the planned work includes removing infected trees in time for their timber to be sold and removing dead and dying trees from along roads and trails, reducing the risk of wildfires and falling trees.

“We cannot control the epidemic, but we can reduce fuels and remove dead trees to protect natural resource values, communities, lives and property, in a cooperative effort with our neighbors and partners,” deputy regional forester Richard Stem said in the announcement.

However, a portion of the work is aimed at stopping the beetles from spreading to areas that attract visitors. Insecticide will be sprayed on 1,000 acres of trees near campgrounds, trailheads and ski areas.

The agency said the increased work this year is possible because Colorado’s congressional delegation won an extra $2 million in funding for the projects.

The work will focus on areas in the White River, Arapahoe-Roosevelt and Medicine-Bow Routt national forests in Summit, Eagle, Grand, Jackson and Routt counties in Colorado, and Albany and Carbon counties in Wyoming.

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Bark beetles, which tunnel into pine trees and eventually kill them, have thrived in recent years because of warm winters and drought.

The Forest Service estimates that about 44 percent of Colorado’s 1.5 million acres of lodgepole pine forest are now beetle-infested ” more than six times the area infested in 2002.

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