Rains, wind and dead lodgepoles create potential hazard for national forest visitors
By Summit Voice
Summit County — Recent rains and forecast windy conditions have prompted the U.S. Forest Service to warn of falling trees. Hikers should avoid dense patches of dead trees that can fall without warning, and should head for a clearing, out of the reach of falling trees, if winds pick up, rangers said.
Campers should also be aware of where they set up tents and park cars, the Forest Service said in a set of safety guidelines for national forest visitors. Motorists traveling on forest roads should also carry a chainsaw or an axe to remove trees that could fall across the road.
Beetle-killed trees that are already at risk of falling because of rotting roots may be even more likely to fall due to rain-saturated soils. Green trees may also fall much easier due to current wet conditions. High winds … elevate the danger even more, the agency said in a press release.
“Shallow or rotten tree roots, saturated soils, and wind are a dangerous combination. Everyone needs to be careful,” said Cal Wettstein, commander of the USFS’s Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization. “Checking to see if a campground or road is open should be as important as packing your sleeping bag or your cooler for a camping trip,” he added.
Forest Service safety guidlines
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. All forest users need to be aware of their surroundings and wind conditions in areas where trees have been killed by the beetles and in areas recently thinned to remove dead trees.
The following are guidelines to help you avoid risks.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
- If you are in the forest when the winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
- Park vehicles and put camps in areas where they will not be hit if a tree falls.
- Park close to a main road; if trees fall across the road you may be trapped.
- Bring an ax or chainsaw to remove fallen trees from roads in case you become trapped.
- Don’t rely only on cell phones for safety since there is no coverage in many areas of the National Forest.
Remember, your safety is your responsibility.
Filed under: Dillon Ranger District, Environment, forests, pine beetles and wildfires, public lands, recreation, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service, White River National Forest Tagged: | camping, falling tree danger, hazard trees, hiking, lodgepole beetle-kill, national forest trails, Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, US Forest Service, White River National Forest