This one is a little tricky. A study was just released saying that forests with lots of beetle killed trees are no more likely to burn than other western forests. What it does not address is fire behavior, once started, in beetle-killed stands . . .
Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears that they’re more vulnerable to wildfire outbreaks, but a new study found no evidence that bug-infested forests are more likely to burn than healthy ones.
In a paper released Monday, University of Colorado researchers said weather and terrain are bigger factors in determining whether a forest will burn than beetle invasions.
The findings could provide some comfort to people who live near beetle-infested forests, if those trees are statistically no more likely to burn than healthy forests.
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That beetle-killed trees burn faster than live ones seems rather obvious, but it’s good that someone has come up with some hard numbers . . .
A recently study should put to rest the notion that green lodgepole pine needles burn as fast as red ones.
But more than that, Matt Jolly said, the study could help open firefighters’ eyes to the dangers lurking in mountain pine beetle-infested forests where the trees still look to be alive and doing well.
Continue reading . . .
Here’s official support, with actual numbers, for something that seems intuitively obvious . . .
The red needles of a tree killed in a mountain pine beetle attack can ignite up to three times faster than the green needles of a healthy tree, new research into the pine beetle epidemic has found.
The findings by U.S. Forest Service ecologist Matt Jolly are being used by fellow ecologist Russ Parsons to develop a new model that will eventually aid firefighters who battle blazes in the tens of millions of acres from Canada to Colorado where forest canopies have turned from green to red from the beetle outbreak.
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Oh, boy. This item posted to today’s Flathead Beacon is going to trigger some debate and, one hopes, further investigation . . .
Swaths of forests killed by mountain pine beetles may not be as prone to massive fires as many previously assumed, a conclusion drawn by researchers from the University of Wisconsin and Yellowstone National Park.
Read the full article . . .