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Fanning the Fire

November 3rd, 2015

Fanning the Fire

Questions have arisen as to whether areas affected by the infestation of spruce bark beetles have a higher risk of forest fires. The spruce bark beetle is a major pest when it comes to spruce and fir trees. They have been reported to damage roughly 500,000 acres of spruce a fir forests in Colorado alone. Recently, a study was conducted to see whether these little pests also contribute to a rise in forest fires. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder fanned out and peeled back the bark of burned trees all across Colorado looking for signs of infestation.

However, they found no correlation between the burned trees and infestation by the spruce bark beetle. The researchers now believe that other factors such as topography and weather conditions play a much larger role in the forest fires than the beetle infestations. This does not, though, negate the spruce bark beetles devastating effect on these forests. Officials are now trying to decide how to devote resources towards both preventing forest fires and controlling the spruce bark beetle infestations.

Do you live near forests infested by these pests? How do you think they should be controlled?

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