About the Epidemic

On both the Front Range and Western Slope, the mountain pine beetle epidemic lingers. In addition, spruce beetle continues to increase on the western slope and in southwestern part of the state. The infestations exist in the southern forests of the region including the Rio Grande, San Jaun, Grand Mesa, Umcompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests. Spruce Beetle is a native invasive species commonly found in the region please click here to learn more about the spruce beetle infestations in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Currently, land management agencies are actively engaging in mitigation of hazard trees and fuels to protect forest visitors and surrounding communities. The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests use both tree removal and spraying to respond to the issue in high value recreation areas such as campgrounds and trailheads and along roads and powerlines.

The core area of the epidemic remains in the Arapaho & Roosevelt, White River, and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and adjacent forest lands. Bark Beetle currently affects all of the 8 national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region.


Falling Trees can Impact Basic Services Including Travel, Electricity, and Water. Recognize the Risks:

  • The fire hazard is high when the trees are red, 1-2 years after being attacked. Fire hazard rises again after the trees fall.
  • Many miles of roads, trails, and a number of recreation areas affected.
  • Damaged power lines could cause wildfires and/or blackouts because electricity generated in western Colorado must be transmitted across beetle-killed areas to serve Front Range demands:
  • Essential water supplies at risk because the heart of the epidemic in Colorado and Wyoming contains the headwaters for rivers that supply water to 13 western states.
Grandby Aerial View of Bark Beetle Infestation

Mountain Pine Beetles change the color of the landscape

Cut Trees in the forest

New trees will soon replace those killed by the beetle