CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Gov. Bill Ritter says wetter than usual conditions have reduced the fire danger this year but the state is ready if there is a major wildfire on the Western Slope.
Officials have warned that the continuing bark beetle infestation has left Colorado’s high country at risk of a major fire. Read more
Weird. The Post reports that some clever folks have found yet another use for beetle-kill wood — motor fuel.
Its not exactly turning a sows ear into a silk purse, but Cobalt Technologies Inc. is aiming to transform pine-bark-beetle-killed lodgepole pines into motor fuel.
A Colorado State University lab is preparing to test the brew from the California startup company in a four-stroke, overhead-valve Honda engine.
Plus, if you read the story, you’ll learn a little about the differences between ethanol and butanol.
So here’s a dumb question — what’s the demand for beetle-kill wood looking like? Or what would it look like if a few people started using beetle-kill butanol?
More than 40,000 acres of forest in Boulder County have been devastated by pine beetles — and more than 1.5 million acres across the state.
That’s a lot of dead trees. And, it seems, a lot of people are interested in using wood from beetle-kill trees for flooring, furniture and paneling. But as it turns out, it’s easier (and cheaper) to get beetle-kill wood — which has a pleasant blue stain — from other Western states with larger existing lumber industries than from Colorado.
Compared to Canada and other states with more established lumber industries, Colorado has smaller mills, fewer logging arterial roads and skinnier diameter trees. Canada beats the market in price and quantity for many reasons, including subsidy programs, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports.
The end result for Colorado is a smaller variety of finished beetle-kill wood products, higher prices and fewer finishing capabilities — like kiln-dried as opposed to air-dried. Many contractors demand kiln-dried beetle-kill wood for its resiliency. Read more