OURAY – An area-wide meeting concerning the fir engraver beetle infestation killing off white fir trees in and around Ouray takes place at the Ouray Community Center on Thursday, Sept. 26, starting at 6 p.m.
Speakers at the meeting include representatives from the Colorado State Forest Service, National Forest Service and West Region Wildfire Council, arborists who spray trees to protect them from beetle infestation and tree removal specialists.
Speakers will take questions from the public; descriptions and photographs of at-risk trees will be available so that residents can determine tree types and possible protection solutions.
“For the smaller landowner, the solutions are not expensive and, working together, everyone can at least help to protect our beautiful firs,” said Ouray resident Barbara Uhles, who is helping to spearhead the meeting.
Uhles and others have initiated a fundraising campaign to help offset the expense of protecting fir trees growing in parks and on public lands in and around Ouray
“We have already been given a donation for $500 from a frequent visitor from Virginia who loves Ouray and doesn’t want to see our town treeless,” Uhles said.
Donate to the City of Ouray at PO Box 468, Ouray, CO; please indicate that the check is for the “Save the Trees” fund.
Ouray’s problem with the fir engraver beetle first came to light last spring, when residents were dismayed to discover large numbers of dead and dying fir trees on the steeply forested mountainsides that ring the town. U.S.F.S. officials determined that the culprit is the fir engraver beetle. Increasingly warmer and dryer climate conditions around Ouray have lately helped the tiny bugs to thrive and multiply.
The insects specific to the species of white fir in the area are just 1/10th of an inch in size, and bore through the bark and feed in the cambium layer of the tree between the bark and the wood. Once established, they create egg galleries that eventually girdle the tree so that water and nutrients don’t flow properly to its upper reaches, killing the tree from the top down.
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