Mountain Pine Beetle Safety Information

The Forest Service wants you to enjoy the national forest AND return home SAFE

Please use caution when visiting National Forest System lands impacted by the mountain pine beetle infestation. Dead trees can and do fall without warning and with little or no help from the wind. Everyone who visits the national forest needs to be very aware of their surroundings. More and more trees are expected to fall over the next several years. Trees typically begin falling within 3-5 years of beetle kill and continue to fall for the next 10-15 years. Some trees have been dead for as many as 10 years. Please keep in mind the following guidelines.

Plan for a Safe Visit

  • Contact the ranger district office in the area you plan to visit for the most current information about recreation opportunities and closures and conditions.
  • Review the Hazard Tree Guidelines that follow this list. Remember them as you park your car, sit down to rest or picnic, pitch your tent, plan your route, etc. Look up, look down, look all around. When travelling on forest roads and trails, be prepared to encounter fallen trees across the route. Riders of horses, ATVs, and motorcycles should be especially alert to these potential obstacles.
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out. Winds and moist conditions increase the likelihood of trees falling.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going, when you expect to be back, and what to do if you don’t return.
  • Don’t rely only on cell phones. Cell phone coverage is unreliable in many remote areas.
  • When possible, travel in groups. If one member of your party gets hurt, the others can assist and get help. Solo travel is not advised.
  • Dress for changing weather; conditions can change quickly no matter what time of year. 
  • Pack adequate food and water and personal safety equipment.
  • Take a map, compass, or other items that will help you know where you are. Plan an open and safe route. Make note of openings you can retreat to if winds become strong.
  • Falling trees aren’t the only hazard out there. Be prepared for storms, lightning, flash floods, altitude, ticks, mosquitoes, and wildlife encounters.

Hazard Tree Guidelines

  • Remember, falling trees are always a hazard when visiting National Forest System lands.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. Trees can fall without warning.
  • Stay out of the forest during periods of high winds. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of potential falling trees.
  • Place tents and park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if trees fall.
  • When driving in remote areas, park close to a main road rather than on a spur or one-way section. If trees fall across the road, you may be trapped.