Making the best of a smoky situation |

Making the best of a smoky situation

Nicole Frey
Brad Odekirk/Summit Daily NewsDeath is near for this stand of lodgepole pines after a pine beetle infestation.

AVON – As the pesky pine beetles chow down on our forests, they’re leaving behind swaths of dead and dying trees. This steadily drying wood is causing alarm in communities, not only because of the unsightly red trees they create, but because these trees pose a fire hazard.In an effort to reduce the fuel for the fire, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management, made up of branches of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Mangagement, is preparing to burn piles in several locations in Eagle and Summit counties. West Vail is one of the highest priority areas, said fire management officials, along with the forest service compound in Minturn, the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina subdivisions in Silverthorne, and the Fulford area south of Eagle. In Vail, steep grades with no road access prevented teams from removing the infested trees they cut.”The town of Vail pretty much initiated this project,” said Brenda Wilmore, a fire ecologist with the White River National Forest. “And now we’ll burn it … to reduce fire hazard.” Originally scheduled to begin in mid-October, the burn was delayed because of the lack of snow, which would make burning safer. With snow cover in place, the burn is now set to start Wednesday, Nov. 16 and last two weeks. The burn will be held on days when ventilation is considered fair or better to minimize the amount of smoke in the area, said fire management officer Ross Wilmore. Fire on the hillFor more details about upcoming burns in Eagle and Summit Counties or if you have health problems that may be aggravated by smoke production, contact Phil Bowden or Brenda Wilmore at 328-6388 or Kristi Ponozzo at (970) 945-3206. Those affected by smoke will then be notified prior to any burning.Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or Vail, Colorado

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