Posted on March 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New CU-Boulder study has implications for forest managers and Red Zone communities
*More Summit Voice stories on beetle-kill and forests here.
FRISCO — Communities and resource managers looking to address the threat of wildfires should focus less on tree-killing beetles and more on the underlying forces driving the trend toward larger fires.
Warmer temperatures and increased drought are the key factors, said Colorado-based researchers who took a close look at patterns of beetle-kill and wildfires in recent years.
Their study found that western forests killed by mountain pine beetles are no more at risk to burn than healthy forests. Those findings fly in the face of both public perception and policy, the scientists acknowledged.
“What we are seeing in this study is that at broad scales, fire does not necessarily follow mountain pine beetles,” said CU-Boulder Research Scientist Tania Schoennagel, of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “It’s well known, however, that fire does follow drought.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: beetle kill, climate change, drought, Forest health, forests, global warming, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Roadside logging is under way in the Colorado high country, as the Forest Service partners with CDOT to remove hazard trees along key highways.
Logging to continue into autumn
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Travelers in the Colorado high country may encounter a few delays and lane closures as the Forest Service and CDOT partner to clear beetle-killed trees from along major highways.
“Ensuring these major transportation corridors are clear of dead trees is certainly critical to keeping people safe and traffic flowing,” said Cal Wettstein, Rocky Mountain region incident commander for the Forest Service.
Work has already started along I-70 in Summit County and motorists can expect to see more tree removal along US Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass and State Hwy. 125. The dead trees pose a threat to public safety as they weaken over time and may fall without warning along these popular transportation routes. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, I-70, transportation | Tagged: beetle kill, Colorado, Colorado Department of Transportation, hazard tree removal, logging, transportation | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Researchers continue to pinpoint the fire risk associated with beetle-killed trees.
New study helps quantify ignition time of beetle-killed trees
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Chemical changes in pine attacked by bark beetles start as soon as two weeks after the bugs start to burrow under the bark and make the trees more prone to ignition.
Overall, beetle-killed trees in the early and mid-stages of infestation may pose a greater risk of fast-spreading crown fires, though other factors are also important, including the structure of the tree, the presence or absence of ground and ladder fuels and terrain and weather. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, forest fires, forests, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: beetle kill, forest fires, Forest health, forests, Lodgepole Pine, pine beetles, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Short closures enhance public safety
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some sections of the recpath will be closed intermittently the next few weeks as crews remove hazard trees that could fall down across the path.
“This work is critical to maintaining a safe facility,” said Brad Eckert, Open Space and Trails Resource Specialist. “We thank the Recpath and natural surface trail users for their patience during these operations.”
The work is scheduled to begin May 21 and continue for approximately 3 weeks. A Cut Above Forestry will complete the work on behalf of the County. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Dillon, Frisco, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: beetle kill, hazard trees, Summit County Colorado, Summit County recpath | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 22, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Montana wildfire observations will increase understanding of fire behavior in changing Western forests
The Saddle Complex fire burned so intensely that it created its own weather, which further fueled the fire. PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE MILLIGAN.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fire experts said they were surprised by the intensity of a pair of fires that burned in Montana this summer during less-than-extreme fire weather. The fire moved through areas of beetle-killed lodgepole faster than some previous fire modeling suggested.
The rapid spread of the two fires was probably the result of a perfect mix of fuels, including recent beetle-killed lodgepole pine with flammable red needles, stands of older beetle-kill in the gray stage. Live trees and an a full-grown understory that provided ladder fuels.
The observations could help experts gain a better understanding of how fires will behave in beetle-killed forests. Some previous fire observations, in Yellowstone, for example, suggested that pure stands of dead gray-stage lodgepoles could actually slow the spread of a blaze, and some fire modeling has also suggested that the gray trees are not as susceptible to fire. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: beetle kill, Idaho, Lodgepole Pine, Montana, Mountain pine beetle, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Saddle Complex Fire, Salt Fire, United States Forest Service, Wildfires, William Jolly | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 29, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Forest Service continues hazard tree removal
A tree-felling crew from Buena Vista gathers at the North Tenmile Creek trail before setting out to cut hazardous trees.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The popular Peaks Trail, between Frisco and Breckenridge, and the Gold Hill Trail are next up for hazard tree removal, with work set to begin Oct. 5.
The work is expected to continue through October and November or as long as weather permits. The contractor will work Monday through Friday each week, but will not operate on weekends.
Operations on the Peaks Trail will occur between the south trailhead on Ski Hill Road near Breckenridge to the Second Avenue Trailhead in Frisco. Operations on the Gold Hill Trail will occur between the trailhead located at the intersection of Colorado Highway 9 and Gateway Drive. (CR 950) and continue to the intersection with the Peaks Trail. Continue reading
Filed under: Forest health, forests, pine beetles and wildfires, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, US Forest Service | Tagged: beetle kill, Breckenridge, Forest health, Frisco, Peaks Trail, Summit County Colorado | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The scale of the beetle-kill in Summit County is evident in this picture, from the trees along the shore of Dillon Reservoir to high up the slopes of the Ten Mile Range. Click on the image for the full-size view.
Fitzwilliams to discuss forest health plans at Jan. 13 meeting in Frisco
SUMMIT COUNTY — White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams isn’t afraid to talk about ecosystem restoration on a landscape scale. One of his recent initiatives includes a project in the Roaring Fork Valley that includes re-introducing fire to the landscape as a way of improving wildlife habitat.
Fitzwilliams will share his vision of a healthy, sustainable forest at the Jan.13 meeting of the forest health task force, set for 7:30 a.m. at the Frisco Community Center.
As the featured speaker, Fitzwilliams will lead a discussion about ongoing and planned initiatives to improve the condition of a forest devastated by a bark beetle infestation that has already destroyed three million acres of lodgepole pine trees in the state. He will emphasize the role of public-private partnerships in addressing the increased risk of catastrophic wildfire due to high fuel loading both in the backcountry and its adjacent wildland-urban interface. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Dillon Ranger District, Environment, Forest health, forests, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: beetle kill, Forest health, lodgepole pines, Scott Fitzwilliams, Summit County Colorado, White River National Forest | Leave a comment »