Beetle-killed lodgepole pines gleam red in a winter sunrise on Mt. Royal. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Summit Voice, Summit County Wildfire Council partner for public education
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Forest health is one of the most critical long-term issues for Summit County. The things we do — or don’t do — today will affect the landscape and the environment for decades to come.
We don’t have control over everything that happens in the forests around us. Thousands of acres of backcountry, far from neighborhoods, roads and reservoirs, will remain mostly untouched. But for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we do have a responsibility to be informed and responsible stewards of the lands that are under our control. Specifically, that means the edges of the vast White River National Forest, where private lands, Forest Service tracts, county open space lands and areas under permit to local ski resorts all meet.
Our first responsibility is to reduce the risk of serious fires that could threaten lives and property. We can’t eliminate the risk of fire completely, but by continuing the targeted efforts already under way, we can decrease the chances of an uncontrolled fire racing through residential areas. Our second task is to look toward the future and try to restore areas that have been killed by pine beetles. Since we’re disrupting the natural ecology of the lodgepole forest by suppressing fires, we’ll need to figure other ways to restore a healthy forest balance. Once the task of mitigating the most immediate fire danger is mostly done, we need to focus the same energy on reforestation.
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Filed under: Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, public lands, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Forest health, pine beetles, Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Summit County wildfire council, wildfire mitigation | 4 Comments »