It’s been awhile since I just wrote a blog entry for the pure fun of blogging. I’m sitting here watching the snow fall here in Denver, it’s the first “real” snow this year, where we expect any accumulation that is. It snowed a couple weeks back, but was mostly mixed snow/rain and none stuck on the ground.
So, where did this year go? I’m thinking now about Fall specifically, here in the Rockies. One thing I noticed, and I didn’t hear a lot of comments about this, nor did I hear anything from the USFS about this either, is that there are a lot of dead trees this year on the eastern side of the Continental Divide.
We’ve had Pine Beetles for a number of years here in Colorado, and they blew over the divide perhaps 3 years ago. My son had friends who were spending their summers up in Grand County cutting beetle kill trees and stacking the logs by the side of the road. They’d strip the branches, cut the trees into about six foot long sections, and then stack those on the side of the road. They all disappeared pretty quick, as many people would use them for fuel presumably.
That was five years ago or so. Back then, there were a few million dead trees in Grand County. The difference now is that there are probably half a BILLION dead trees all over the eastern side of the Continental Divide, along Interstate 70, both north and south from there, including Larimer Country up and around Estes Park, in Rocky Mountain National Park and so on.
This has become a very serious problem! It was serious a few years back, now it’s National Disaster size. The reason it’s so much more serious now is because now we literally have hundreds of square miles here in Colorado with as much as 50% dead trees. Those trees will dry out, become standing tinder in just a few months. Next year’s fire season is looking very grim for Colorado.
I’m amazed that the news media has not picked up on this. They are all showing pictures of “Fall Colors” and you can easily see in many of the photos that more than 1/2 of the pines in the photos are dead.
I guess nobody likes bad news. It’s only bad news though if you don’t plan for it – remember that. We could start planning right now, get crews up there to start cutting these trees, stacking them, and so on and so forth. We’re going to need a lot of crews!
Any volunteers? I’m out of work, I suppose I wouldn’t mind spending a season up there next year cutting trees and getting the lumber out of there. It’s hard work, but it would be fun to be outdoors up there for a season I think.