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 “Colorado: Hazard tree removal along major highways”→
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 “Forests: Red, dead needles burn faster”→
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.”
Montana wildfire observations will increase understanding of fire behavior in changing Western forests
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 “Experts surprised by intense fires in beetle-killed stands”→
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 “Summit County: Tree-clearing to begin on Peaks Trail”→
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.