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DENVER (AP) – U.S. Forest Service officials say the bark beetle epidemic has now infested 4 million acres in Colorado and southern Wyoming, after spreading to 400,000 new acres last year.

The Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service announced the new figures from its annual aerial survey on Friday. The hardest hit forests are the Arapaho, White River, Roosevelt, Medicine Bow and Routt.

Forest Service officials say the new acreage includes lodgepoles, ponderosa pine and five-needle trees.

Aerial survey results also showed that the size of the infestation doubled in 2010 in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Officials say the epidemic has spread to 44,000 acres, up from 22,000 in 2009.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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