Forest Health & Fire Mitigation

Our forests are a valuable resource for Mountain Village. The Town's Planning & Forestry Department is responsible for reviewing all proposed development within town limits to ensure compliance with all fire mitigation and forest health requirements. 

Wildfire Mitigation

Property owners should be aware of the following three perspectives when it comes to fire mitigation on their property:

  • New construction development is required to have a wildfire mitigation plan as outlined by the Community Development Code. (This activity is not eligible for Defensive Space Incentive Program funding.)
  • Mountain Village encourages property owners to voluntarily implement the CDC wildfire mitigation standards (zone 1, 2 and 3 standards - pages 183 & 184 of the CDC). Implementation of these standards may help property owners to reduce their insurance costs.
  • For existing properties, please visit our defensible space incentive webpage to learn about financial incentives for creating defensible space around your home.
  • To view the latest standards for defensive space wildfire mitigation, please click here.

Our forester is available for a free consultation on forest health, defensible space, hazard trees and forest management. Contact our staff forester Rodney Walters at or call (970) 369-8603.

2023 Forest Health Initiatives

Aspen Sapling Protection

To protect the aspen saplings, five-foot-tall, light blue, grow tubes are being installed over small aspen trees to protect them until they become tall enough to not be browsed by the elk herd.

Aspen stands can be killed by deer and elk browsing. Protecting the saplings from browse can ensure that aspen stands will be able to regenerate and continue to provide tree benefits in the future.

Please leave these be if you see them throughout Mountain Village.

MCH Packets

If you see a little green packet attached to a tree, stump, this is a MCH packet to repel Douglas fir beetles and it is supposed to be there.

Last year, 17 very large mature Douglas fir trees died from Douglas fir beetle attacks. Unfortunately, freshly killed Douglas fir trees attract large numbers of Douglas fir beetles and can initiate a Douglas for beetle epidemic. In spring 2023, the Town is installing MCH packets on trees to prevent a Douglas fir beetle outbreak. A Douglas fir beetle outbreak could kill hundreds or thousands of Douglas fir trees in TMV, which would be very impactful and would reduce the resilience of TMV’s forests. To prevent this MCH packets (an anti-aggregation pheromone) are being put out to prevent Douglas fir beetle attacks.

Although a bit smelly, the MCH packets are a non-toxic way to prevent tree deaths. These packets are like hanging a no vacancy sign on the trees, which tells the beetles that the tree is already occupied and to move on. This confused the beetles and caused them to fly around, thereby exhausting their energy and causing them to become subject to predation or to expire. In this way, the trees are protected and there is virtually no downside to putting out the MCH packets.

Douglas Fir beetle kill removal

The Town of Mountain Village will soon begin proactive measures to address an outbreak of Douglas fir beetles that have reached concerning proportions in a pocket of Douglas fir trees adjacent to the Town shop area and the Meadows neighborhood.

Beginning October 2, the Town, in collaboration with Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG) will begin mitigation work to remove 77 large Douglas fir trees located on land owned by both the Town and TSG near the Jurassic Trail.

The project will include removing infested trees, ground fuels, associated brush and nearby sapling trees to both reduce the chances of further infection while also improving overall forest health and reducing wildfire risks. Due to the slope the trees are located on, the project will include both on-the-ground work and helicopter use to clear the infested trees.

The Jurassic Trail will be closed for user safety when the helicopter is being used to remove trees. Signs will be posted on the trail and the Town will send out a notification through its ReadyOp system when helicopter use is anticipated.

The outbreak was first observed by the Town’s Forester Rodney Walters in July of 2023 and subsequent investigation showed that the beetles had reached epidemic proportions in several trees in the area. Walters worked with forestry experts, including Dr. Jason Sibold, to develop a management plan.

San Miguel County 2019 Forest Assessment

Dr. Jason Sibold has been monitoring and pondering the forest ecology of the Upper San Miguel River Watershed for a decade. Watch Dr. Sibold's 35-minute 2019 update presentation to learn more about the forests and climate of our upper watershed.