Looking beyond the dead trees
Published: Thursday, October 4th, 2012
This year marked my 41st fire season as an active participant in firefighting, fire policy development, fighting mountain pine beetles and other pests and working in forest management in general. I have worked for the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and private industry. Much of my life has been spent trying to answer the question how do I keep my forest alive and well in an environment filled with fires and mountain pine beetles and all of the other challenges that foresters face?
I have not been alone in this quest. The answer to the question affects everything from the value of our property to the safety of our homes, especially for people who live in the forest, under the eaves of the trees in what we call the Red Zone. In fact, answering that question can mean the difference between whether I want to live in the forest or not.
I spent an afternoon near the Sugar Shack in the Black Hills Experimental Forest. Foresters and other scientists are working to understand how various forest treatments like thinning and burning work over time. What is the effect of thinning trees on mountain pine beetles?
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