Beetle Kill 2009: Letter from Sulphur District Ranger Craig Magwire |

Beetle Kill 2009: Letter from Sulphur District Ranger Craig Magwire

I am pleased to again be a part of the Sky-Hi Daily News annual Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) Section. I appreciate the paper’s dedication to keeping our communities informed about our ongoing response to the mountain pine beetle epidemic. This insert includes updates about what we’ve accomplished and what we hope to accomplish in 2009 and beyond. You will find information about how to best prepare yourself for a wildfire and will notice many of these articles contain a reference to collaboration and personal responsibility.

As many of you know, the Sulphur Ranger District (SRD) has been focusing its resources to respond to the mountain pine beetle outbreak since 2001. Our focus and goal has been consistent over this eight year span. We work every day toward reducing the impacts of potential wildfire to communities and watersheds. We have used all the tools we have available in this effort and have been planning and implementing the largest vegetative management projects in SRD’s history, and doing it as fast as we possibly can. We’ve been using timber sales to remove dead trees while the trees still have value for wood products, as well as fee-for-services contracts as funds become available. We’ve employed loggers and other contractors, fire crews, trail crews, prison crews and volunteers in this effort.

We recently applied for and received $560,000 of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, which will help us accomplish even more hazardous fuel reduction projects adjacent to our communities in addition to creating jobs.

Reducing the impacts of potential wildfire to communities and watersheds is not a job SRD can complete alone. It takes the combined effort of the community and cooperators. Protect your homes and neighborhoods by removing fuels and creating defensible space. The work individual homeowners, subdivisions and businesses complete enhances the success of the fire breaks and fuel treatments SRD is accomplishing. We have been actively working to support the efforts of subdivisions and we will continue to do so.

I would like to thank everyone who has been helping with this effort. I greatly appreciate all the volunteers, partners and cooperating agencies, including the Lions Club, campground hosts from Thousand Trails, Winter Park Resort, each of the towns in Grand County, the Colorado State Forest Service, Grand County Division of Natural Resources, logging companies and all the individuals that are too numerous to list here but have been helping with this effort. I would also like to thank all those individuals and homeowners associations who are continually working on defensible space. Thank you all for your efforts. It is really amazing to see how much has been accomplished by the combined efforts over the years since this epidemic took hold.

We are in a transition from the forest we once knew to a new, emerging, more diverse forest. Over time, we will all be witness to another transformation as this new forest grows. In the meantime, please be careful and follow the safety tips included in this paper if you are in the woods.

Craig Magwire

Sulphur District Ranger