PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — Rising timber prices are improving the market for trees killed by spruce beetles in the Rio Grande National Forest.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported Thursday two high-capacity sawmills have opened in Colorado and Wyoming after the U.S. Forest Service said enough timber would be available to make them profitable.

The mills produce studs used in construction.

Tim Troxel of the Intermountain Forest Association says existing smaller mills in Colorado could also use a larger supply. The association represents sawmills.

About 7,800 square miles of the Rio Grande National Forest is infested by the spruce beetle.

Divide Ranger District forester Kirby Self says the beetle-killed trees are usable as lumber for about seven or eight years.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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