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Pine beetle epidemic slows in Wyoming

Pine beetle epidemic slows in Wyoming

  • Updated

The spread of the mountain pine beetle epidemic has slowed dramatically in Wyoming, while the spruce beetle outbreak continues at low levels, according to the results of an annual aerial forest health survey.

The survey is a joint effort by the Forest Service and Wyoming State Forestry Division.

As noted in the 2012 survey results, the mountain pine beetle epidemic continued to slow in 2013. Mountain pine beetle was active on 82,000 acres in 2013. Statewide, the epidemic expanded to only 29,000 previously unaffected acres, primarily in the southern Wind River Range on high elevation five-needle and lodgepole pines.

Mountain pine beetle activity is being actively suppressed by forest management in the western Black Hills in Crook and Weston counties, where less than 1,000 newly affected acres were detected. More than 3.4 million acres in Wyoming have been affected statewide since the first signs of the outbreak in 1996.

Spruce beetle was active on 36,000 acres across the state, expanding by 19,000 new acres in 2013, compared to 17,000 new acres in 2012. Most of the 2013 spruce beetle caused tree mortality occurred in the western part of the state. The total area affected by this beetle since 1996 has reached 577,000 acres.

The Douglas-fir beetle remains at low levels in Wyoming with only 1,000 acres affected in 2013, of which 620 acres were reported in southern Sweetwater County.

For more information on forest health conditions in the Rocky Mountain Region, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r2/forest-grasslandhealth. For information directed at private landowners to help manage for healthier forests, visit http://wsfd.wyo.gov/.

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