Mother Nature’s Going After The Beetles
During my lifetime, I think this is one of the greatest disgraces of our generation. We can win a World War, spend billions on UN sorties to foreign countries, but we couldn’t contain an invading insect from destroying our vast forest lands here in Colorado and across the West.
Few efforts have been made to harvest beetle-killed timber. Millions of acres of available, potential lumber is rotting in the forest that could be used to build homes for the homeless and be ground into cellulose making alcohol and high-priced fuel and plastics.
We didn’t have the money, or the interest to do much of anything. Now the chickens have come home to roost; the rubber has hit the road. Last count on the news, 13 fires are burning. The largest fire in Colorado history is burning out of control west of Fort Collins, scorching 88,000 acres of beetle-kill invested timber land and more than 200 homes lost with many more in harm’s way.
Insurance rates will rise; insurers will take a hard look at underwriting any mountain homes in any prospective timber-laden fire areas.
If you’ve been anywhere near Grand Lake in Grand County, most of the mountains around that part of Colorado are brown with beetle-killed timber. A lightening strike will happen one of the hot days and hundreds of mountain homes will be engulfed in flames. The Vail Valley is laden with beetle-killed trees, thousands of homes at risk.
There is hardly a forest in Colorado that has not been impacted by the beetles and only Mother Nature seems to care and is doing something about eradicating this scourge of the century.
Can’t CSU, with noted chemists and agriculture scientists, develop a spray that will kill these bugs? We can spend millions fighting these fires with aging planes but wouldn’t it make sense to figure out how to eradicate this crawling plague?
We’ve almost reached a point of no return with our forest lands. Perhaps it is not too late to start cutting down dead trees and creating jobs and boost industries to provide low-cost lumber and clean up forest lands.
Incentives should be provided to entrepreneurs to log the mountains and trim out the dead-woods.
Thousands of jobs could be created in an effort to save what will be left of forestlands. So far, it seems that the only things we’re interested in is buying more airplanes to drop slurry retardants to slow the path of the angry flames. The Legislature squabbles over civil unions while our state goes up in flames.
This is just the beginning of hundreds of fires and countless acres of forest lands being destroyed. Lack of winter snowfall leaves dry forests laden with rotting trees awaiting lightening or a careless discarded cigarette or illegal camp fire.
In New Mexico, plagued with the same problems the national forests are so dry ranchers can’t start fires to brand their calves in the high country pastures. Special permits need to heat a branding iron, that’s the Forest Service concern.
The Forest Service, a branch of the United States government, has really been the culprit in not protecting our forests in the theme of President Teddy Roosevelt, who had much to do with establishing our national forests.
Roosevelt, who spent time in Western Colorado in the meeker area, would roll over in his grave if he saw what has happened to his beloved forestlands.
I feel as a Colorado native that it is absolutely shameful and embarrassing what has happened to our lands.
Maybe these massive fires are a wake up call for all of us who care about he great outdoors to doing something about it.