The intensity of the recent West Fork Fire that spread rapidly after being ignited by lightning in the San Juan Mountain range near Wolf Creek Pass was at least partly attributed to the fire burning amidst dead and dying stands of Spruce and Aspen decimated by bark beetles and disease. Now officials with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests are considering a plan that would remove dead and dying trees from up to 350-thousand acres of forest land.
GMUG Communications Officer Leanne Loupe says the purpose of the project is to proactively and adaptively respond to conditions by managing the forest in accordance with the agency’s ‘Western Bark Strategy.’ Approximately 250,000 to 350,000 acres will be analyzed with the potential to treat 4,000-6,000 acres annually in future years.
GMUG recently completed analysis on three large projects designed to restore forest health and to treat spruce beetle infested stands. The projects include: Long Slough on Grand Valley Ranger District; Escalante on the Uncompahgre Plateaus; and La Garita in the Gunnison Ranger District outside of Saguache.