Removing dead trees from an area near Grand Lake, Colorado

Kelley and Susan's Defiance Photography

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The beetles infest the lodgepole pine, which makes up 8% of Colorado’s 22 million acres (89,000 km2) of forests. Lodgepole pines are found at elevations between 6,000-11,000 feet. The last notable outbreak occurred in Colorado in the 1970s but was significantly less detrimental than the current infestation. Of the 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) of lodgepole pine, about 70% of them have been decimated. High temperatures have allowed beetle infestations at higher elevations. According to a recent study, pine beetles have expanded their infestation by 400,000 acres (1,600 km2). The infestation is primarily concentrated in the state’s northern mountains. The infestation has been moving north and east from the Granby and Winter Park area towards Larimer County. It is estimated that beetle kill will leave behind a deforested area the size of Rhode Island.