Montana – Mountain Pine Beetle infestation affects Cabin Gulch fire

image showing locations of pine beetle kill overlaid on fire-stricken areas of the west and northwest

A mountain pine beetle outbreak in the forests of Montana could have an impact on the Cabin Gulch Fire.

The dense infestation of forests near Townsend means large deposits of dead, dry tree debris from beetle-killed trees – which makes great conditions for intensifying uncontrolled fires.

According to NBC Montana:

“I mean all that litter is falling to the ground, and so there is some thought that potentially you could have more intense surface fires in those landscapes,” said Carl Seielstad, University of Montana Research Assistant Professor of Fire Management.

Seielstad says Montana has been working to stop the mountain pine beetles from killing off the trees, but for some forests it’s just too late.

UMT’s TopoFire interactive map, a prototype system for predicting insect and climate-induced impacts on fire hazards, includes filter layers for areas and intensity of beetle kill across Montana, the west, and the continental United States. Click here to view it.