Posted on October 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The cost of property damage caused by wildfires has spiked in recent years.
More disastrous fires ahead with sustained effort to address threat
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Increased development in fire-prone forest lands in Colorado “ensures that the pattern of damaging wildfire will continue,” according to a state task force report released last week.
The report was delivered to Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative after two consecutive years of deadly and destructive fires along the Front Range.
The report calls for rating the wildfire risks on individual properties, and facilitating mitigation and prevention measures at the local level. Property owners in the red zone should be primarily responsible for adressing wildfire dangers, to the point of paying special fees to help fund mitigation efforts. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, wildfires | Tagged: Colorado General Assembly, Colorado State Forest Service, John Hickenlooper | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Pine needle scale directly affects the needles of conifers. Photo courtesy Oregon State University.
Outbreak on pine needle scale reported in Grand County, ground zero for the pine beetle infestation
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado forest health experts say there’s a new pest on the loose in one of the areas hardest hit by mountain pine beetles.
Pine needle scale is affecting patches of trees in Grand County, where residents have reported ailing lodgepole pines in recent months.
The tiny bug latches on to pine needles and sucks them dry. They can affect any age tree and generally don’t cause trees to die, although a heavy infestation can lead to mortality, according to Ryan McNertney, assistant district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service Granby District. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado forests, Colorado State Forest Service, Forest health, Fraser Valley, Grand County, pine needle scale | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Active forest management needed to protect water supplies
A beetle-kill forest clear cut near Dillon Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.
Colorado State Forester Mike Lester.
By Mike Lester
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior to reduce the risk and impacts of catastrophic Western wildfires was signed last week in Fort Collins. The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership was good news for anyone who cares about the health of our forests, pays a water bill or worries about wildfires.
The Colorado State Forest Service is proud to be part of a similar local partnership that is being viewed as the first of six WWEP pilot programs in the West to improve forest and watershed health, and help mitigate wildfire risk. The Colorado-Big Thompson Headwaters Partnership focuses on the headwaters of the Colorado and Big Thompson rivers in Northern Colorado. Partners include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado State Forest Service, Forest health, forests, Mike Lester, United States Forest Service, watersheds, wildfire, wildfire impacts | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Flames tower over a stand of piñon trees during the Royal Gorge fire near Cañon City.
New state program aims to reduce the risk of fire in wildland-urban interface
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — State officials say they’re ready to start taking applications for a new $9.8 million grant program aimed at reducing wildfire risks to neighborhoods built in and near flammable forests, where wildfire is a natural part of the ecosystem.
The new program was created by Senate Bill 13-269 and passed this year by the Colorado General Assembly. It focuses on projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure, and water supplies, and that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. Funds will be directed to non-federal lands within Colorado.
Eligible applicants include community groups, local governments, utilities, state agencies and non-profit groups. Applicants must contribute 100 percent matching funds, which can include in-kind resources, for a 50-50 grant-to-match ratio. Applicants must also identify plans to make use of the woody material resulting from the projects. Those plans can include using the materials for biomass energy and/or traditional forest products. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, forests, wildfires | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado wildfire fuel reduction, Colorado wildfire grants, fire mitigation, wildfire mitigation grants, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Local company continue to offer spraying services, saying some property owners would rather be safe than sorry
Pine beetle populations have dropped to the lowest level in 30 years in parts of the Colorado high country. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — While some local property owners report that they’re getting advertisements from local tree spraying companies about protecting lodgepole pines from mountain pine beetles, state officials say there’s no need to apply pesticides this year.
“Mountain pine beetle numbers are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years,” said Ron Cousineau, district state forester for the area covering Summit and Grand counties. “The mountain pine beetle population has crashed … spraying has to be based on an actual threat,” he said. “The current population of pine beetles does not warrant spraying.”
Essentially, the bugs have killed most of the available trees. With very few brood trees remaining, beetle populations aren’t likely to reach epidemic levels again anytime soon. The latest forest surveys showed pine beetle activity on only about 200 acres in Summit County last year, with only a few pockets of trees within those areas affected by the beetles. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado State Forest Service, Environment, forests, mountain pine beetles, pesticides, Summit County News, United States Forest Service | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Mike Lester says Colorado forests face ‘extraordinary changes’
Colorado’s aspen forests may see more die-offs as a result of last summer’s drought.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s new state forester and director of the Colorado State Forest Service may be moving here from Pennsylvania, but his forestry roots are pure Colorado.
Mike Lester is a CSU alumnus and spent time with the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. He currently serves as assistant state forester for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, a position in which he is responsible for more than 300 staff, manages 2 million acres of state forest land, oversees the Pennsylvania State nursery manager, and manages a silviculture program that yields $25 million in annual revenues.
As Colorado state forester, Lester is responsible for the protection of Colorado’s forest resources; ensuring forestry education, outreach and technical assistance to private landowners; and carrying out the duties of the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, forests, public lands | Tagged: Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, Forest health, forests, Mike Lester | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 24, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Lower North Fork Fire burning March 26 in Jefferson County. PHOTO COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF.
Gov. Hickenlooper proposes reshuffling agencies to unify command structure
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —Scrambling to beef up the state’s response capability at the start of what could be a long, hot fire season, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday he’ll ask the State Legislature to shake up the agencies charged with responding to public safety emergencies.
Based on the recommendations of a review panel, Hickenlooper said he’ll propose legislation that would put the Division of Emergency Management and wildfire resources at the Colorado State Forest Service under the authority of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, forest fires, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, Department of Public Safety, John Hickenlooper, wildfire | Leave a comment »