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Colorado’s lodgepole pines beset with a burgeoning bug infestation

A tiny, unassuming Colorado insect has been spotted making a big mark on lodgepole pines. Foresters are finding that the insect, called pine needle scale, has been causing lodgepoles to appear sickly, with yellowing or fading needles. While it's normal to see pine needle scale occurring naturally in the woods, this year foresters are seeing entire areas where infestations are impacting the health and vigor of trees. "To be honest, we aren't 100 percent certain why the populations have increased so dramatically," said Ryan McNertney, a forester with the Colorado State Forest Service Granby District... READ MORE  Summit Daily News, Sept 6, 2013)

In Summit County, increased temps, beetle epidemic changing wildfire behavior

Summit County residents are accustomed to looking out their windows onto rocky peaks covered with lush vegetation in shades of green and brown. In the case of a major wildfire, this vivid landscape could turn into a barren scene of charcoal-colored wood and scorched earth. Localized storms after wildfires can easily turn to floods that bring down debris, take out roads and damage waterways. As hard as it is to imagine, this dismal picture could turn into a reality, said hydrologist and Forest Health Task Force member Brad Piehl at a community meeting titled "After the Fire" in Frisco on Wednesday. "Looks can be deceptive," said Forest Health Task Force member Howard Hallman. "When it appears the conditions are moist and cool and everything is growing, we begin to think everything is OK, but that can change quickly." Although Summit has fared better than other parts of Colorado in terms of wildfires in recent years, local fire-safety advocates said the worst could be yet to come. "Our big fire window is late in the year after the growing season. When vegetation and undergrowth starts turning brown and drying out that fuel is ready to burn," Piehl said. "Usually in Summit County that's going to be in September." READ MORE

Wildifre Checklist - Are YOU Ready?

What do you need to do to prepare yourself and your home for wildfire? Read or PRINT our Wildfire Checklist Below:

  • We (my family and I) have completed a checklist of what to take in case of wildfire evacuation
  • We have an easily accessible list of emergency agency e-mails/phone numbers
  • We have copies of vital documents stored on the internet cloud or on a disk stored in a safe deposit box (not kept in a “fire-proof” box in our home)
  • Our evacuation vehicle is in good condition with sufficient fuel for any traffic jams
  • We are familiar with evacuation roads from our ranch or neighborhood
  • We have made provisions to take care of animals and pets
  • We have a prepared a sign to identify to emergency personnel the presence or absence of any animals on our property and their location
  • We have a place to stay in case of extended evacuation
  • We confirmed that there is adequate water to fight wildfires in our neighborhood or locale
  • We have created defensible space around our home/property to reduce wildfire hazard
  • We have removed ignition sources next to our home and other structures
  • We know our neighbors and can communicate with them in case of wildfire
  • We have been inspected by the local fire district to identify ignition sources, highly flammable materials, and fire hazard
  • We have replaced highly flammable features on and in our home and other structures
  • We have educated ourselves about wildfire behavior
  • We have educated family members, guests, and employees about wildfire behavior
  • We have determined that our ingress and egress is adequate to allow us to evacuate and for emergency personnel to access our property in case of wildfire
  • We have adequate insurance to replace our home, property, and other possessions in case of wildfire; and have confirmed our coverage with our agent
  • We have photographs of our valuables stored at a safe location away from our home
  • Our homebuilder or renovation contractor has incorporated all reasonable wildfire protection measures into their construction designs
  • We understand what services and assistance is available to us during and after a major wildfire event, and know how to access service agencies and non-profits
  • We are prepared to sacrifice everything else to save ourselves, our family, our neighbors, and our friends


A new collaboration has Idaho ranchers and the BLM fighting fire together

A new collaboration has Idaho ranchers and the BLM fighting fire together (High Country News, April 29, 2013)

Mock emergency to test Summit County's wildfire preparedness

Mock emergency to test Summit County's wildfire preparedness (Summit Daily News, April 29, 2013)

Colorado’s Crystal Wildfire survivor briefs Summit County homeowners

Homeowners are the first responders to an emergency — not firefighters or police. "Whether it's a fire or medical emergency, the minutes you have between identifying the situation and fire or cops show up may be a matter of life and death," said Forest Health Taskforce member Howard Hallman. The more homeowners are prepared for an emergency, such as a wildfire, the more likely they will survive and rebuild their lives, he said...READ MORE (Summit Daily News, Aug22)

Living in the Danger Zone

SDN (06/28/13) More than one million people and a half-million homes are located in Colorado's high fire danger red zones. Also nestled among the red zone forests are more than 2,000 active gas and oil wells. This year's devastating wildfires have already prompted one of the state's largest energy companies to temporarily shut down more than 500 wells and evacuate a gas processing facility. READ MORE

Residents urged to prepare for fire threat

Summit Daily News Coverage

National trends indicate that wildfires are burning hotter and longer, and that wildfire seasons are lasting longer. Local fire experts are warning Summit County residents not to assume their homes are protected from the devastating effects of a wildfire. Continue Reading

New forest service web tool helps evaluate risk of wildfire to homes

New forest service web tool helps evaluate risk of wildfire to homes (Summit Daily News, April 26, 2013)

Wildfire protection experts gather in Frisco

Wildfire protection experts gather in Frisco
(Summit Daily News, April 27, 2013)