Timber! Beware of rotting trees | SkyHiNews.com

Timber! Beware of rotting trees

Camping season is in full swing in Grand County and there is one danger that visitors may not be aware of: falling trees. It’s been more than 12 years since the mountain pine beetle epidemic swept through Grand County, killing nearly 90 percent of the mature lodgepole pine trees on the National Forest. Enough time has passed that many of these trees are beginning to rot at the base and in the roots and fall unexpectedly.

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest Public Affairs Specialist, Reid Armstrong has noticed the problem.

“Since the needles have dropped, it’s less noticeable, but we want to warn visitors to the area to be vigilant when they are camping or recreating in the woods,” Armstrong said.

“Trees can fall without warning, with or without wind. Please be aware of your surroundings. Look up and around for any hazards before parking your car or setting up a tent. On windy days, consider recreating in places with fewer dead trees.”

The Sulphur Ranger District has done a lot of work to mitigate the hazards along roads and trails and in campgrounds, but it is still possible to come across a downed tree around any bend, so slow your speed when traveling in motorized vehicles on Forest roads and trails. Bring a saw with you so you don’t get stuck.

The Beaver Creek fire is a reminder about the dangers of trees killed by pine beetles, and this weekend will likely have a huge camping turnout. Be careful with campfires and do not leave them unattended. Before you leave, douse them with water until they are cold enough to touch.

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