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Study: Bark beetles not a factor in High Park Fire, wildfire spread

By Bobby Magill in the Coloradoan

It was a common theme in statements from both firefighters and public officials when the High Park Fire was scorching Larimer County: Dead trees killed by mountain pine beetles are responsible for the rapid spread and intensity of wildfires in Northern Colorado.

But a new study, echoing many studies before it, says that’s not true. Bark beetles are not responsible for Colorado’s most notorious wildfires.  The real culprit: climate change-fueled drought.

The study (click here for the full text), co-authored by Colorado State University wildlife ecology professor Barry Noon and scientists at Clark University, Xerces Society, and Geos Institute, shows that fire risk is tied to primarily to drought conditions.  read more >

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