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Old 01-17-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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Colorado needs a Woodpecker breeding program....I hike all the trails and every year I see fewer and fewer of these wonderful creatures.....I know some Hunters who are morons ( 2% or so) like to pick them off for fun....
Hopefully, with all the snow this year it will attenuate the beetle infestation...
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
By the way, I notice only one of the links posted has a Colorado connection. While much of the advice is applicable, the fire situation in Colorado's increasingly beetle-killed forests is somewhat unique to the Rocky Mountain Region.
I came across these links while researching and designing my "proof" house (not 100 proof ), in this case, "fire proofing" a house built near or abutting a NF or BLM boundary. However, I wouldn't construct a structure in or close to a major beetle kill zone b/c that's just plain silly, but I would build one where the beetles had not invaded yet and use the recommended preventive measures, ie, clear a wide buffer zone surrounding the structure and begin an aggressive beetle insecticide treatment program when trees show signs of infection. Whether these tactics would work may be debatable, but you know, an ounce of prevention...
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:43 PM
 
20,315 posts, read 37,820,570 times
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Originally Posted by multitrak View Post
I came across these links while researching and designing my "proof" house (not 100 proof ), in this case, "fire proofing" a house built near or abutting a NF or BLM boundary. However, I wouldn't construct a structure in or close to a major beetle kill zone b/c that's just plain silly, but I would build one where the beetles had not invaded yet and use the recommended preventive measures, ie, clear a wide buffer zone surrounding the structure and begin an aggressive beetle insecticide treatment program when trees show signs of infection. Whether these tactics would work may be debatable, but you know, an ounce of prevention...
When I see the Santa Ana wind fires in CA, I go into daydreaming mode of how I'd build a fire-reistant property there.

Key point is non-combustible construction: real tile roofs, brick walls, no exposed wood/plastic. Large perimeter area cleared of trees/brush. Rock xeriscaping around the structure.

Since most of those CA homes have pools, I'd connect a 3-inch line from the pool to a pump, and then I'd have a sprinkler system on the OUTSIDE of the house, roof and walls, to spray pool water on the house when a fire gets near. Point is to let the water take the heat load and evaporate off.

More esoteric steps would include metal storm shutters over the windows, to reflect fire heat and keep wind-driven flaming debris from breaking the glass and getting in the structure. Perhaps a concrete tornado shelter below ground, but not directly under the house, entered via a fire resistance door in the basement, well stocked for surviving 3+ days.

All sorts of things can be done, just takes money. I'll save my money and live in a reasonable area. When the spirit moves me, I'll rent a mountain retreat, beach home, boat, horse, etc, then walk away from it afterwards.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
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Jazzlover is correct. The beetle problem is not just limited to lodgepole forests. A reference was made regarding the forests around Buena Vista and that they didn't look that bad. Unfortunately, the hardest hit in that area were the Ponderosa Pine trees. I used to work for the Forest Service in that area and the beetles were running rampant around 1998-2001. A lot of the Ponderosa in that area were killed.

The beetle is a natural forest thinner, but unfortunately, due to fire suppression and other things, we are seeing epidemic populations. I sincerely hope we don't lose all of our lodgepole pine forests in Colorado, but I have a feeling we will have beetle kill similar to the spruce beetle in the past. When I was in Forestry school back in the mid-nineties, my professors predicted this epidemic. They knew what was coming, but the Forest Service and other government agencies could do nothing about it. As a former employee, I know all to well the beauracracy involved.
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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This whole thing makes me sad. Nature needs to do what nature naturally should do - and we it doesn't seem to be allowed. In the end, I think nature will win out.
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
.... When I was in Forestry school back in the mid-nineties, my professors predicted this epidemic. They knew what was coming, but the Forest Service and other government agencies could do nothing about it. As a former employee, I know all to well the beauracracy involved.
People who haven't been in government just do not know and cannot comprehend the incredible processes that agencies must follow in order to just "do" something about something that isn't a part of the annual budget plan.

When something 'new' comes along, like this beetle infestation, the money to fight it isn't there and the process to get money in a budget is beyond belief. It can take years to get a new line in a Federal budget, unless its top loaded by direction of the Executive Branch or Congress. In rare cases, Federal court decisions or changes in public law dictate spending, usually known as "compliance" spending, in which cases money flows, and quickly.

To get money in an agency budget, the problem/threat has to be identified, the solution defined & priced, assurances of success given (hah!) and justified every step of the way up the chain. Then Congress gets it and they scrutinize it, lining out stuff they don't like. Every $1M they line out of YOUR budget is $1M in earmarks they can pass on to a vested interest pal of their's. In some cases, another agency, or another part of your own agency, may claim they have jurisdiction or the mission in the area of concern, and try to take the budget line from you - it happens more than you might think. I defended a few budget lines like that. Then, when the money does come down in the year of budget execution, your agency chief may decide to do something else with that money - it's their agency to run, not yours. Seen it happen all the time.

In the military services it's even worse. After a particular service (in my case the Army) assembled it's program, it went to a middle man (Office of the Secretary of Defense) who gets months to play with it, scrub it, make you justify it, compare it to other services for duplication or chances to merge programs, look for stuff they want to kill, etc. After that, it finally goes over to Congress and they start all over. Big programs usually brief the House and/or Senate Armed Service Committees, or others. Military construction money is even more fun - talk about pork and politics, wow, that's another whole "type" of money in budget language.

I worked in the budget/program processes at the Army level, it was enough to drive you crazy. Half of DC is in the program/budget game. It drives some people nuts. There are more shrinks in the DC area, per capita, then anywhere in the nation. People come there to do good stuff for the nation and get the mother of all reality checks when they see the bordello-like atmosphere in the halls of Congress, where all virtue is for sale, all the time. Got bucks? Door's open!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 80,810,264 times
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How the Pine Beetle is Destroying Colorado Forests | Newsweek Project Green | Newsweek.com
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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Wink Not a happy prospect

Entire mountain sides on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and in the vicinity of Grand Lake, CO are largely dead and dying trees, brown save for small patches of verdant green aspen. Maybe the Pine Beetle are no longer present there, but certainly are elsewhere. On the east side of RMNP, near Estes Park, CO, one can see increasing evidence of this infestation.

A professional forester from Colorado State University I talked with about this said they hoped that the greater diversity of trees on the east side would temper the impact. But she also said that when the Pine Beetle runs out of food that in extremis it will attack other species of tree, even though as unsuitable hosts they will not allow it to go through a full reproductive cycle.

The general range of lodgepole pine within Colorado is in the north central part of the state. But all other tree species are susceptible as each has various bugs and viruses particular to each. There is a sign placed near Harbison Picnic Area within RMNP that tells visitors about the Pine Beetle infestation. One would assume the Park Service is relatively conservative in such things, but this sign specifically says they presume global climate change has a lot to do with the present large infestation. While the Pine Beetle is native to these forests, the former balance is gone and conditions ripe for a plague of sorts. Trees that are unduly stressed or otherwise unhealthy are particularly susceptible. That means all species of trees.

Man shares responsibility in other respects as well. While this forester noted that it is natural for individual trees to die inexplicably at any given time, that most of the dead and dying large, mature ponderosa and other trees directly along Colorado's highways the direct result of the State's use of Magnesium Chloride to deal with snow in the winter. The use of this chemical within Colorado is a fairly recent development, but increasing exponentially, and it is responsible for not only many of the dead trees but also polluting nearby rivers these highways often parallel.

She was somewhat sanguine in noting that of course in time trees would regenerate in areas killed by beetles, and perhaps even a better balance of different species emerge. But of course something like this measured in decades.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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Ecologically speaking, the truth is that the sooner the fires start and burn the beetle-infested lodgepole forests (and the heat of the fires releases the seeds from the lodgepoles' serotinous cones), the sooner the forest can start to regenerate. Of course, the people who built their trophy houses in those forests will wig out about any fire--and the Forest Service, politically likely to kowtow to those interests, will make every effort to suppress any fire that threatens structures, even though that isn't/shouldn't be their primary mission. Despite all such efforts, though, eventually those dead lodgepole forests will burn, and the successionary cycle in the forest will begin again. Mother Nature bats last . . .
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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Wink In magnitude

I forgot to mention that this forester also mentioned that to be effective, if a tree sprayed against beetle infestation, that the entire trunk of the tree must be sprayed. Right to the top. Take a look at your favorite tall tree and imagine the magnitude of that task. She wasn't aware off hand of any sprays for beetles that were not toxic. Meaning, not the kind of things you want on yourself or in nearby water.

It is hard to imagine how some of these forests will not burn, and in magnificent fashion. Entire mountain sides are ready and primed for it. Certain selective removal of affected trees are being done near residences in communities. But a first hand look at wilderness to the horizon reveals the magnitude of the dilemma.

The Forest Service has said the size and intensity of forest fires have increased significantly in the last several decades. And quite candidly that with the larger fires all they can hope to do is save certain select, small spots.
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