Trees & Beetles & Fuels.... Oh My!
I live in a small subdivision in the Southern Black Hills of South Dakota. Our subdivision, Silver Star I & II, realized in the early part of the decade that we were vulnerable to losing everything to wildfire. As a result, we have worked very hard to be Firewise in our way of life. Silver Star became a nationally recognized Firewise Community in early 2005.
The Black Hills (along with many other western forests) are currently experiencing a mountain pine beetle outbreak of epic proportions. As a result, the community of Custer has responded with numerous "Bark Beetle Blues" events throughout the year.
A couple of days ago, I participated in a forum called A Landowner Conversation: Beetles, Fuels, and Forestry that was sponsored by Custer County Conservation District. As chairman of the Silver Star Firewise Board, the SCD asked me to put together a history of our Firewise project along with information on how the beetle outbreak has impacted us. I put together the following video and have been encouraged to share it. I'm really proud of what our neighborhood has accomplished in the last 8 years. What a small but mighty group!