New bug outbreak hitting Colorado trees

State foresters say pine needle scale infestation may be linked with heavy use of pesticides in war against pine beetles

Pine needle scale is weakening and killing conifer trees in the Colorado mountains.

Pine needle scale is weakening and killing conifer trees in the Colorado mountains, possibly as a result of the earlier heavy application of pesticides used to try and kill mountain pine beetles. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado forest experts are documenting an unprecedented outbreak of pine needle scale on conifer trees in Grand, Summit and Eagle counties that may be linked with the widespread application of pesticides used several years ago to try and kill mountain pine beetles.

The intensive use of those pesticides may have wiped out beneficial insects like predatory wasps and beetles that keep pine needle scale in check, said Granby-based Ron Cousineau, district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service.

“Most of the concentrated spray for mountain pine beetle ended about three, four or five years ago. That’s when we started seeing the buildup of pine needle scale,” Cousineau said. Continue reading

Morning photo: Mayflower Gulch

At treeline …

FRISCO — After a quick trip to Leadville, I turned off the highway at Mayflower Gulch to take the dogs for a short walk under building thunderstorms. As the thunder, hail and rain built in intensity, I almost jumped back in the car to head for Frisco, but I was glad I waited it out, because the storm passed pretty quickly. The short walk turned into a nice tundra jaunt. The sky stayed a bit on the gray side, which isn’t always the best for landscape shots, but it is good light for flower portraits, especially for the pale hues of the columbine, which can get lost against a bright background. What a great year for wildflowers! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: View hunting

Can you feel it?

FRISCO —You don’t have to go far in Summit County to find a good view. Sure, it’s great to get out for a long hike deep into the backcountry, but sometimes all you have to do is pull of the road in the right spot to enjoy the beauty of the Colorado high country. All the images in this set were taken within a quarter mile of local highways and byways, including one image that was taken right alongside Interstate 70 from a scenic overlook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: Sunday set

Mirror in the sky …


FRISCO —Weather forecasters are telling us that the monsoon season here in the Rocky Mountains will probably start early this year. In fact, the first surge of subtropical moisture is set to arrive starting today, which is good news if you like photos with dramatic clouds and lighting, and also good news for wild mushroom hunters, since our forest fungi need those summer rains to proliferate. But even before the monsoon season kicked in this year, we saw plenty of moisture the past few weeks, leaving Summit County as green as I’ve ever seen it. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Pilot killed as medical helicopter crashes near Frisco, Colorado

Flight crew suffers serious injuries

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Firefighters work to extinguish the flames after a Flight For Life helicopter crashed near Frisco, Colorado on July 3, 2015. Photo via Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The pilot of a Flight For Life medical helicopter died in a fiery crash Friday afternoon at the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center near Frisco, Colorado.

Two other crew members, a paramedic and flight nurse, were seriously injured in the crash and were transported to hospitals in Denver,  officials said in a press conference.

The Summit County coroner identified the pilot as 64-year-old Patrick Mahany, a Flight for Life pilot since 1987. Mahany was  a Vietnam veteran and received a bronze star and a purple heart during his years of service. He was a loving father, grandfather and a very proud patriot.
The death is still under investigation and an autopsy has been scheduled. There is no further information available at this time.

Firefighters arrived on the scene in Summit County at about 1:45 p.m., finding the helicopter and two nearby vehicles engulfed in flames.

The helicopter crashed to the ground shortly after taking off. The accident will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Morning photo: The mountain zone

High in the Rockies …

FRISCO —Early mornings are the best during these long summer days in the Colorado high country. Before the heat and haze build, before the traffic gets thick, it’s quite and calm, and the glow of dawn suffuses the landscape with warmth. But if you want to catch the sunrise, you’ll have to get up plenty early. If not, follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: Got mountains?

Break out the long lens

FRISCO — After decades of shooting with SLRs and DSLRs, I’ve drastically changed my photography habits. I still carry a couple of cameras and a few lenses if I want to shoot wildlife, or catch a closeup of the moon, but often these days, I wander out with only my iPhone. But a quick look back through the archives shows the value of keeping that long lens around, for wildlife, of course, and even to create a nice bokeh in a wildflower scene. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

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