Forest Service plans Black Hills beetle control projectRAPID CITY (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is planning a project that could take as long as a decade to control mountain pine beetles in a 50-square-mile area near Rapid City.
RAPID CITY (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is planning a project that could take as long as a decade to control mountain pine beetles in a 50-square-mile area near Rapid City.
The $484,000 Calumet Project includes timber logging, thinning and prescribed burns, according to the agency’s environmental impact statement.
The project’s boundary area is about six miles west of Rapid City.
It surrounds Sheridan Lake and includes federal and some private land.
Project team leader Lou Conroy said the project could begin later this year and take up to 10 years to complete because prescribed burns can only be conducted at limited times.
Recreational areas could be closed at times.
“That is always done on a site-by-site basis,” Conroy said.
The project would treat the vegetation to reduce the pine beetle threat and potential for large-scale wildfires, according to the report.
The beetles are believed to have killed 4 million trees last year in the Black Hills, and more than half of Forest Service project area has pine trees that are at high risk for bug infestation.
Forest officials have said when the trees die, they fall and add dry fuel to an area already ripe for wildfire. The Calumet area has seen recent wildfires, including the Dakota Fire in June that burned 348 acres around the Sheridan Lake recreation area.