High Park fire follows in pine beetle's tracks
It has been nearly two weeks since a tongue of lightning touched down in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, sparking the most destructive wildfire in the state's memory. The High Park fire comes as a kind of second death for this stretch of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, where mountain pine beetles have held at epidemic levels for almost half a decade. Vast stretches of rust-red canopy, dry and primed for fire, are a testament to an infestation that has affected some 70 percent of the trees in the region. Thanks to the beetles, there has been no shortage of ready fuel and the fire has spread quickly, whipped by sporadic winds from the southeast.