Colorado forest woes increase in ‘16 as Summit braces for new beetle

Nearly one in every 14 standing trees in Colorado forests is dead, and the possibility of even more in Summit County could come as early as this summer.

A study released Wednesday by the Colorado State Forest Service out of Colorado State University calculated an estimated 834 million dead trees, many of them succumbing to two beetle epidemics. That’s a tree casualty increase of almost 30 percent in the last seven years.

Summit County, on the White River National Forest, was a forest system hit extremely hard by the decades-long mountain pine beetle infestation. Scores of lodgepole in the Dillon Ranger District remain in need of treatment. That leaves the region at risk of significant fire danger.

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