COLORADO – The Colorado State Forest Service said beetle kill has worsened in mountain ranges around the state due in part to drought and above average temperatures in the southwest part of the state.
The state forestry service said Spruce beetles killed 178,000 acres of trees. The organization estimates that approximately one-third of those trees were in new areas that hadn’t yet been exposed to the beetles. Forest areas around Rocky Mountain National Park, some areas in the San Juan Mountains, the Sawatch Range and the West Elk Mountains all saw tree deaths.
Other beetles and pests, like the Douglas-fir beetles and the western spruce budworm, did not see growth in 2018. However, the Budworm still killed approximately 131,000 acres of trees.
Since 2000, spruce beetles have killed approximately 1.8 million acres in Colorado. The age of forests, long-term drought stress, “blowdown events,” and densely growing trees have contributed to the numbers, according to the forest service.
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