Torch beetles at winter parties |

Torch beetles at winter parties

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

TELLURIDE ” Phil Miller understands why people of Summit County, Vail, and Grand County are anxious about the dead trees killed by mountain bark beetles.

As a young man after World War II, he was on U.S. Forest Service crews dispatched from Eagle and Kremmling that doused large areas of trees with insecticide.

He spent a career in the Forest Service, but chose to live in retirement in Telluride, where he is active in town affairs. Writing in The Telluride Watch, he says there are easier and cheaper ways to deal with the fire hazard than logging the trees.

Torch them in mid-winter, he advises, when there is plenty of snow on the ground.

“Torching the red-tops will burn off all of the needles and small branches. What is left, the main stem and large branches, will not carry a crown fire.”

“I can tell you it is fun,” Miller adds. “The people could have torching parties in the winter.”

(Crown fires, which burn in the tops of trees, are considered the most severe.)

BANFF, Alberta ” The Rocky Mountain Outlook tells of a 24-year-old man who was detained by police after crossing a main street in Banff with his pants around his ankles.

That was last Nov. 11, at about 2:20 in the morning. Just how the man managed to run with his pants around his ankles, the newspaper didn’t say. If that spectacle ” cited as “conduct disturbing others” ” wasn’t enough, he was detained an hour later by police who found him staggering and yelling at people with slurred speech.

But the judge found neither offense as great as the fact that he had two driver’s licenses, one from Australia and one from Alberta, and one of them stolen.

He was fined, but the judge said he could expect to spend considerably more time in jail than two days if caught doing something of the sort again.

CANMORE, Alberta ” Curbside recycling will be on the public agenda in Canmore this fall.

The goal of the proposal is to keep 50 percent of waste out of the landfill within three years. Potentially at issue, says the Rocky Mountain Outlook, is whether recycling containers will draw wildlife.

The town in the past had a difficult time with bears. It’s use of community, bear-proof garbage containers, says the newspaper, has become a model for other communities.

But curbside recycling must be easy, says the newspaper, or people won’t do it.

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