A state forester Friday repeated a message already given by local officials -- that Black Forest residents shouldn't rush to cut down trees burned in the June wildfire.
David Root, assistant district forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, said he has seen residents not only cut trees down, but use bulldozers to knock them down. He said such activity will further damage the already-burned soil and possibly worsen erosion and flooding.
Root said he realizes that residents want to get rid of burned trees, and that they have the right to remove them on their private property. But he said the forest's long-term health is at stake.
"Wait until spring," said Root. "Unless the tree is dead and at risk of falling. Even burned trees can protect the soil from heavy train. If your tree doesn't have new growth on it by June, it's probably dead. Then you can cut it down. You should have an experienced professional or an arborist do it."
Root said his office regularly receives calls from people who ask what to do about their trees.
"We got calls steadily after the (2002) Hayman Fire but they dwindled after that," he said. "We're still getting calls about the Black Forest Fire two months later."
Root said he hopes residents will pay more attention to the forest's remaining, unburned trees -- and thin them out before they can fuel another fire.
"Fire is a normal part of a forest's development," he said. "Usually we expect to see a fire every 20 to 30 years. But Black Forest went maybe 100 years or more without one. With so many fuel sources accumulated, it was inevitable that a fire would happen."
For more information about trees, visit http://csfs.colostate.edu