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
Pine beetles have infested about 2 million acres of Colorado’s lodgepole pine forest, and utility companies are worried that when the dead trees fall, they’ll fall on power lines.
This from the Vail Daily:
A wildfire along one of the West’s key power line corridors could shut down the grid in a worst-case scenario. To avoid disruption, the U.S. Forest Service wants to remove dead and dying trees along power lines crossing national forest system lands in northern Colorado. …
“There is an imminent threat to power lines from an increasing number of hazardous trees falling in the three forests,” said Cal Wettstein, commander of the Forest Service’s Bark Beetle Incident Management Team.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to work with utilities to cut down beetle-killed trees on land it manages in Colorado, including trees in the Roosevelt National Forest, which covers a swath of western Boulder County.
There are around 800 miles of distribution and transmission lines on the three National Forests — White River, Medicine Bow-Routt, and Arapaho and Roosevelt — according to the forest service, and about 400 miles run through lodgepole pine that has been or will likely be killed by the bark beetle.