# 3 Beetle battle continues | SummitDaily.com

# 3 Beetle battle continues

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

A mountain pine beetle infestation of epidemic proportions continued to spread across Summit County in 2005, killing older, susceptible lodgepole pines in nearly every nook and cranny, both on private and national forest lands.

The pine beetles are a natural part of the forest ecosystem, having evolved together with lodgepoles as one of three significant mortality factors for lodgepole pines. And forestry experts said that, even while the epidemic looks devastating, its effects are still within the natural “historic range of variability,” meaning the red-stained swaths of forest are not ecologically off the scale.

Still, the dead trees contribute to increased wildfire hazards, so local, state and federal officials have joined forces to tackle the problem, focusing resources on reducing fire danger in the so-called Red Zone, where exurban development sprawls into the forest fringes.

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