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. Tree Farmer Alert
  Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Press Release                                    
Rocky Mountain Region                 
740 Simms Street   Golden, CO  80401                      Contact: Mary Ann Chambers, 970-295-6676

Forest Service Managers Call in “NIMO” Team to Help Manage theMountain Bark Beetle Incident


Denver, Colo. November 10, 2009 - U.S. Forest Service officials have tapped a National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team to assist Regional staff as they continue to address the 2.5 million acre mountain pine beetle epidemic in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming. Falling beetle-killed trees continue to increasingly present health and safety concerns to the public and employees, and a growing threat of wildfire poses a threat as well.

Last winter, a beetle-killed tree resulted in a fatality on private land.  Forest land managers are acutely aware of the safety issue this beetle epidemic has caused, and their concerns continue to grow.

A letter of delegation, signed this week by Regional Forester Rick Cables and Incident Commander Steve Gage, will delegate the responsibility of the incident to the National Incident Management Organization team.  The NIMO Team will coordinate activities among the three heaviest impacted bark beetle Forests (Medicine Bow-Routt, Arapahoe and Roosevelt, and White River National Forests) as a single incident.  This team will use a resource ordering system to fill orders to provide technical and labor support to the effort. In many cases, Forest Service employees from across the Rocky Mountain Region will assist in the mitigation activities.

Some of the objectives of the NIMO team will be to manage the removal of hazard trees along roads, power lines and in campgrounds.  The NIMO team will also direct any necessary resource surveys within the area affected by the epidemic, will assist in further development of fire preparedness plans, prescribed fire plans, etc across the region.

“Public safety is our number one priority.  This is a seven-member team of professionals with incident management as their primary focus.  This approach would allow us to separate and track the emergency response.  The NIMO team approach assures us the opportunity to respond appropriately given the scale and complexity of the incident,” said Deputy Regional Forester, Tony Dixon.

The NIMO team will immediately begin assessing the current situation, reviewing existing plans, and collecting data in order to prepare a strategic action plan for work priorities.

The following are guidelines to help forest visitors avoid risks within bark beetle affected areas:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Avoid dense patches of dead trees.  They can fall without warning.
  • If you are in the forest when the winds increase, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
  • Park vehicles and put camps in areas where they will not be hit if a tree falls.
  • Park close to a main road; if trees fall across the road you may be trapped.
  • Bring an ax or chainsaw to remove fallen trees from roads in case you become trapped.
  • Don’t rely on cell phones for safety since there is no coverage in many areas of the National Forest.


For general information about the mountain pine beetle epidemic go to www.fs.fed.us/r2/bark-beetle.  Land management agencies have also developed a site devoted to the bark beetle happenings on the Front Range; www.frontrangepinebeetle.org.








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