Forest Service Response

Starting in the summer of 2012, the USFS will start work on logging, thinning,
and treatment of the forest around Silver City for the purposes of controlling
the Pine Beetle epidemic that is affecting our area. (
more info)

Homeowners' Response

The communities of Silver City, Rochford Road, and Sunnyside have all taken an
active role in removing infested trees.

In January 2012, Silver City contracted with Copper Mountain Logging to
remove 90 infested trees with the town boundaries.  The SCVFD helped
coordinate the project and the affected homeowner's incurred the expense.

In May 2012, a total of 1,600 healthy trees around the district were sprayed.  
The coordinated effort was a success and it is anticipated that it will have a
high preventative rate.
Picture Gallery:


Silver City VFD comments regarding Pactola Project
Beat The Beetles website
Project presentation National Forest Advisory Board (NFAB)
June 2011 - Silver Peak infestation
September 2011 - Silver Peak infestation
SCVFD Response

During the general membership meeting held on
November 2011, the membership approved a plan to work
with the USFS to create a 300 foot buffer around homes in
the fire district.   The buffer will have the dual purpose of
creating a fire break and buffer zone against the spread of
the Pine Beetle onto private lands.  The membership voted
on setting aside $20,000 from reserves towards this
Fire Break area covering 22 acres. 16 of those acres will be "park-like" while remaining 6 acres will be commercially logged.
MPB and fire break around Silver City completed

April 2012 -
Logging and thinning is completed on a
22 acre buffer around Silver City.  This follows an
agreement between the USFS and the SCVFD to
create a fire break buffer on Forest Service land
along the boundaries of Silver City.   Custom Timber,
a logging company, was hired to do the work.  
The project called for a 300 foot buffer to act as a
fire break in the event of a catastrophic fire as well
as a pine beetle break in an attempt to prevent
pine beetles to fly and infest trees within Silver City.

Within the 300 foot buffer, not all trees were removed. Some large trees reamined with a minimum spacing of 40 feet between trees.  
Additionally, all debris and small trees were thinned and piled for later burning.  The buffer has now been seeded with native grasses to return it
to a natural state.   This constitutes the first time that the forest service joined forces with a private community to address the pine beetle
2012 - Original Buffer around Silver City. The project also included two acres on the north side (not shown)
February 2012 - Landing on nugget gulch, east of town
Loading trucks. About 45 truck loads were taken out from the buffer zone.
Central Black Hills.   In 2012 and 2013 the epidemic intensified and reached explosive
proportions. While the MPB is difficult to fight, the Fire Department has been
aggressively confronting this threat within the district.

The hard work has paid off.  The epidemic is now subsiding and a lot of stands within
the prescription area were spared.
 In 2018 the pine beetle population returned to
endemic levels.

During the height of the epidemic, the phased approach focused on protecting
communities from within and dealing w
ith MPB threats.  The following were the steps
periphery of Silver City

Red Areas - Logged and seeded
Green Areas - Logged, thinned,
cleaned and seeded

A total of 1,600 trees
are sprayed annually.  
Thanks for the great
Firebreak - AFTER
Firebreak - BEFORE
Buffer foreground, doghair on background
45 foot spacing - Courtesy John P. Gomez
One of six lage slash piles
February 2012 - Signing of contract with USFS. Jeff Sugrue - Fire Chief, Bob Thompson - Ranger Mystic District, Todd Tobin - President SCVFD
Phase 1
Removal of MPB infested trees within communities
January - February 2012
Private owners and
Phase 2
Creation of 300 foot buffer around Silver City.  Fire
Protection and MPB shield
March - April 2012
Phase 3
Tree Spaying - 1,600 trees (Sunnyside, Silver City,
Rochford Road)
May 2012
Private Owners and
Phase 4
in Silver City (Duggan Gulch)
June - July 2012
Phase 5
Logging and thinning. Joker Sale within the Pactola
EIS  (Sunnyside, Silver City, Rochford Road)
Phase 6
Cut & Chunk of infested trees within 500 feet of
2013 and 2014
Removal of MPB infested trees

June 2012 -
Work has started on debarking MPB
infested trees before the beetles  fly later this
summer.  Please click the videos to the right to see
the  debarking machine in action.
Phase 4 - Debarking Subunits. Duggan Gulch
July 9, 2012 - Debarking area looking south onto Rapid Canyon. Tinted trees are MPB infested.
Brush 1 on standby in project area
July 2012 - Debarking Machine
July 2012 - Silver Peak Infestation
Silver City VFD
Pine Beetle Project