Over 800 million trees are dead in Colorado forests

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — One of the most popular things about our state is facing some major challenges.

Colorado State Forest Service released a study about the health of the forests in Colorado and found there are over 800 million trees statewide that are still standing – but dead.

That poses major problems for our state as we move into wildfire season.

There are roughly 11 billion trees in our state – that means close to 10 percent of the trees are dead.

Brandon Pontilo frequents the forests of Colorado.

“It’s an escape really. I can just come out here an hangout with my friends,” said Pontilo.

The forests are changing with over 800 million dead trees.

“It’s a significant amount of trees. It’s certainly something that folks should be concerned about,” said Mike Lester of the state forest service.

Pontilo’s fears go straight to the future.

“I think exponentially, if they’re all going to start dying, it could be bad,” said Pontilo.

This is happening across the entire state and it’s all thanks to bugs.

“This is probably the biggest insect outbreak we’ve had here in Colorado in the last 150 years,” said Lester.

The amount of bugs will go up and down over the years, because once the trees are dead there isn’t a reason for them to be around.

With all the dead trees, they’re more likely to cause major problems during wildfire season.

“Not more likely to burn, but when they do burn they can prevent bigger problems,” said Lester.

Some mitigation is happening throughout the state to cut back on the bug problem, but those fixes could take a while.

In the meantime, outdoor enthusiasts like Pontilo and his friends feel powerless watching this happen.

“I don’t like just waiting. I wish I could do something,” said Pontilo.

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