Montana city struggles with cost of removing beetle killed trees
July 13, 2009
HELENA, Montana (AP) – Officials in Helena, Mont. say the cost of removing the sea of red trees surrounding the city could cost up to $2 million.
Natural resources coordinator Brad Langsather says the city will need roughly $825,000 just to cut the trees killed by pine beetles in city-owned open spaces.
Officials says it’s crucial to cut the trees to reduce the danger of a wildfire entering Helena from the South Hills.
Langsather estimates it will take five years to do the cutting work. He says the landscape will be far more open when it’s completed.
Millions of acres in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho have become infested with the pine beetle. Roughly 400,000 acres in the Helena National Forest are infested.