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Summit County’s forests are overly dense — that could mean megafires in our future

Thanos, the antagonist in this year's major blockbuster, "Avengers: Infinity War," sets out to restore "balance" to the universe by attempting to wipe out half of all life. While federal and state forest services should never be confused with a genocidal maniac from a comic book, nor intend to wipe out half of all the trees, they still work toward bringing a certain balance to Colorado's forests, a balance lost since the United States started treating any forest fire — even small ones — as a threat.


Volunteers are needed this summer to help protect and maintain Summit County’s forests

As spring arrives and the great thaw begins, Summit's Forest Health Task Force is calling for residents to come out of their burrows and volunteer for forestry projects this summer.

Much of the work to maintain and nurture Summit's forests falls on volunteers with passion and commitment. For that reason, volunteerism was the main topic of discussion at the task force's monthly meeting on Wednesday. Most of the volunteer opportunities are...



Resilient lodgepole may help Summit forests recover from pine beetle

SDN January 20, 2018, by Deepan Dutta

Fire, disease, logging — these are mortal enemies to most trees. Yet the lodgepole pine seems to thrive after disaster, and that is a bit of good news for Summit forests devastated by the mountain pine beetle.

Matt Schiltz, a forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, gave a presentation Tuesday to the Forest Health Task Force about the lodgepole's resiliency. The task force is a collaborative program that brings together various forest-related government agencies and nonprofits to promote and educate about forest health.

Schiltz, who works out of the CSFS Granby field office, demonstrated... READ FULL ARTICLE

Rare Colorado Trout Rescued During Wildfire

A rescue mission performed during a raging wildfire last year may have saved a rare Colorado trout.

The first batch of semen and eggs have been harvested from 158 unique cutthroat trout that now thrive the Roaring Judy Hatchery in Gunnison.


Colorado wildfire forecast for 2017 suggests another average year at worst

Colorado officials predicted an average or better wildfire season in 2017, but they cautioned against complacency despite no heightened warnings this year.

“You can never predict the weather. But I do think...



May 16, 2018 Meeting Overview

At our recent meeting, we shared the following Ted Talk by Paul Hessburg. In it, he discusses the current wildfire dilemma we're in. 



Climate change is hurting forest regeneration in the Rockies. In some places, forests aren’t coming back at all.

Forests are pretty resilient. They can regrow in the wake of wildfires and insect infestations, sometimes even stronger and denser. However, rising temperatures and larger wildfires are heavily testing that resiliency. For Colorado, it may mean that forests will look very different in the future. In particularly hot and dry areas, forests may not come back at all.

A presentation given at the bimonthly Forest Health Task Force meeting on Feb. 21, in Frisco, offered sobering statistics about... READ MORE

Three giant forest fires raged in Colorado 15 years ago this week. What did we learn from them?

Fifteen years ago this past Sunday, I went sightseeing, as did Colorado’s governor. We both returned home deeply impressed, maybe even spooked.

From Denver, I had driven to Camp Hale, between Vail and Leadville, then hiked up Resolution Mountain. It stands 11,905 feet, modest by Colorado standards but high enough to get a commanding view of the landscape south and west. My companion, Cathy, remembers being unsettled by the type of clouds we could see from the summit....



Energy developer proposes powering El Paso County jail with forest wastes

A renewable energy developer wants to build a small biomass plant to power the El Paso County jail as part of its grand plan to turn wood and brush cleared during wildfire mitigation into marketable products.

The Hong Kong-based VannZa group has proposed locating the plant on county property near the jail, supplying electricity to the facility at market rates, said John Zapel, the company's president and CEO. It would be powered by about 45 to 50 tons per day of...READ MORE

Putting fire back into the forest, starting in Aspen

The High Country Forest Collaborative (a re-envisioned version of the successful Colorado Bark Beetle Collaborative) met in Carbondale at the Fire Protection District on April 28th. The wider mission of the group is "community forest resilience." One key topic for forest health is reversing the suppression focused approach to wildfire which has altered the natural burn intervals of forest ecosystems, and made the forest less healthy. The upshot of decades of active fire suppression has been hotter, more dangerous fires, and increased risk to mountain communities. Read