Watch Out! Beetle-Killed Trees And Green Trees Are Falling Across Roads And Trails
From The Rocky Mountain Region Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization
Forest Service officials are warning visitors to watch out for falling trees. Beetle-killed trees that are already at risk of falling because of rotting roots may be even more likely to fall due to rain-saturated soils. Green trees may also fall much easier due to wet conditions. Wind, and especially high winds elevate the danger even more.
“Shallow or rotten tree roots, saturated soils, and wind are a dangerous combination. Everyone needs to be careful,” said Cal Wettstein, commander of the USFS’s Bark Beetle Incident Management Organization. “Checking to see if a campground or road is open should be as important as packing your sleeping bag or your cooler for a camping trip,” he added.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. All forest users need to be aware of their surroundings and wind conditions in areas where trees have been killed by the beetles and in areas recently thinned to remove dead trees.
The following are guidelines to help you avoid risks.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
• If you are in the forest when the winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
• Park vehicles and put camps in areas where they will not be hit if a tree falls.
• Park close to a main road; if trees fall across the road you may be trapped.
• Bring an ax or chainsaw to remove fallen trees from roads in case you become trapped.
• Don’t rely only on cell phones for safety since there is no coverage in many areas of the National Forest.
• Remember, your safety is your responsibility.
To check the status of a campground, visit www.fs.fed.us/r2/recreation/camping/campgroundlist or call the local Forest Service office for more information. Reservations for most campgrounds can be made on www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
For general information about the mountain pine beetle epidemic go to www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle. Land management agencies have developed a site devoted to the bark beetle happenings on the Front Range: www.frontrangepinebeetle.org.