You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Colorado has 834 million dead trees; fires could get worse

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/16/2017
FILE - In this June 24, 2013 file photo, fire-promoting beetle-killed trees mix with live trees as a wildfire burns west of Creede, Colo. Foresters say the number of standing dead trees in Colorado is increasing steadily, threatening to make wildfires worse and to degrade vital water supplies that flow from forested mountains. The Colorado State Forest Service said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 that the state has an estimated 834 million standing dead trees, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 24, 2013 file photo, fire-promoting beetle-killed trees mix with live trees as a wildfire burns west of Creede, Colo. Foresters say the number of standing dead trees in Colorado is increasing steadily, threatening to make wildfires worse and to degrade vital water supplies that flow from forested mountains. The Colorado State Forest Service said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 that the state has an estimated 834 million standing dead trees, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

DENVER — Officials say Colorado has about 834 million standing dead trees, threatening to worsen wildfires and degrade vital water supplies that flow from forested mountains.

The Colorado State Forest Service said Wednesday that the number of dead trees has risen nearly 30 percent in seven years.

They are most visible in forests infested by the mountain pine beetle and the spruce beetle, which have together attacked more than 7,900 square miles in Colorado.

Dead trees can burn more intensely than living ones. They can also worsen erosion, contaminating runoff from rain and melting snow.

Officials say 80 percent of the state's population relies on runoff from forested watersheds.

Dead trees are also a threat in California, where the U.S. Forest Service says drought has killed more than 102 million trees.

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon