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New tool helps in battle against Mountain Pine Beetles

Carrie Moore
Published: Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Matthew O’Connor throws a branch from an infested tree into a mobile Air Burner, which disintegrated the branch in a few minutes. Air Burners are another tool in the fight against the Mountain Pine Beetles. The beetles and larva and killed in the fire, with the end result being a fine ash that can be used as a soil replacement.

 

While the solution for the Mountain Pine Beetle destruction is still being sought, a consulting firm from Colorado is using a new method to destroy pine beetle trees and eliminate fuel on forest floors.
NRG Consulting Services, based out of Bayfield, Colo., bid on the 100-acre Little Teton Hazardous Fuel Reduction project located west of Custer. The project is all on private land and part of a grant for the fight against the beetles. The project will also clear fallen and chunked trees from the ground, eliminating fuel for fires. The project has been in collaboration with Custer County and the Department of Agriculture and is all done by hand.
NRG Consulting Services spent time researching what to do with the fuel and infested trees. That’s when Rich Graeber, consultant, and his partner, Todd Pyle, came across Air Burners, Inc., which burns infected trees and excess fuel within seconds. 
“Instead of leaving the fuels on the ground or hauling the trees away, we can immediately burn and eliminate the fuel after one day,” Graeber said. “This just made sense.”
While it’s not an end game solution, using the Air Burner is another tool in the fight against Mountain Pine Beetles.
“One of the more popular methods is to chip the wood,” Graeber said. “That eliminates some of the larva, but not all of it. Setting fire to the wood kills and eliminates the larva and any beetles in the trees.”
Air Burners, also known as FireBoxes, were designed as a pollution control device but are now used in a variety of trades, such as agriculture, forestry, landfills and governmental jobs. 
“What’s nice about this type of solution is there is a 100 percent kill in a matter of seconds,” O’Connor said. “It’s used for farmers to destroy livestock that have been killed by diseases, the Department of Justice uses it to destroy drugs and it has been used to get rid of sludge or waste from disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.”
However, in the Midwest, the boxes are most common for agriculture work and forestry jobs, such as the Mountain Pine Beetle problem. 

While the solution for the Mountain Pine Beetle destruction is still being sought, a consulting firm from Colorado is using a new method to destroy pine beetle trees and eliminate fuel on forest floors.

NRG Consulting Services, based out of Bayfield, Colo., bid on the 100-acre Little Teton Hazardous Fuel Reduction project located west of Custer. The project is all on private land and part of a grant for the fight against the beetles. The project will also clear fallen and chunked trees from the ground, eliminating fuel for fires. The project has been in collaboration with Custer County and the Department of Agriculture and is all done by hand.

NRG Consulting Services spent time researching what to do with the fuel and infested trees. That’s when Rich Graeber, consultant, and his partner, Todd Pyle, came across Air Burners, Inc., which burns infected trees and excess fuel within seconds. 

“Instead of leaving the fuels on the ground or hauling the trees away, we can immediately burn and eliminate the fuel after one day,” Graeber said. “This just made sense.”

While it’s not an end game solution, using the Air Burner is another tool in the fight against Mountain Pine Beetles.

“One of the more popular methods is to chip the wood,” Graeber said. “That eliminates some of the larva, but not all of it. Setting fire to the wood kills and eliminates the larva and any beetles in the trees.”

Air Burners, also known as FireBoxes, were designed as a pollution control device but are now used in a variety of trades, such as agriculture, forestry, landfills and governmental jobs. 

“What’s nice about this type of solution is there is a 100 percent kill in a matter of seconds,” O’Connor said. “It’s used for farmers to destroy livestock that have been killed by diseases, the Department of Justice uses it to destroy drugs and it has been used to get rid of sludge or waste from disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.”

However, in the Midwest, the boxes are most common for agriculture work and forestry jobs, such as the Mountain Pine Beetle problem. 

Available only in the print version of the Custer County Chronicle. To subscribe, call 605-673-2217.

 



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Current Comments

1 comments so far (post your own)
T.Starr
May 30th, 2013 at 16:24pm

I believe controlled burns of the areas affected by beetles would largely help the beetle epidemic. I believe more effort should be focused on rejuvenation of a new forest. Fires are a natural part to a healthy forest and pine cones release seeds when exposed to heat. This in turn would help grow a new forest.

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