by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG — Paul Crespin and Oscar Martinez of the U.S Forest Service discussed a number of issues with the Huerfano County commissioners on Wednesday. The forest service is currently making plans for public hearings to discuss what portions of their land may be available for lease for oil and gas exploration and other uses. A meeting is scheduled in Walsenburg for May 21st. A proposed draft of action would be slated for October with a decision due in late 2014.
The spruce beetle epidemic is moving further south into Colorado and will impact Huerfano County in the next year or two. Upper elevation spruce trees will be the most vulnerable to attack.
An early fire season could be extreme in nature for many forests in the state, and Huerfano County has many forest areas that are dry and ripe for wildfires to possibly occur. The forest service will work with the county on making fire stage announcements as needed this spring and summer. This is the third year of extremely dry conditions in the county without major fires hitting the area as of yet.