DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Wolf Creek Ski Area says it has removed an estimated 4,000 trees killed by spruce beetles over about 150 acres.

Area owner Davey Pitcher told The Durango Herald that the removal mitigated some of the fire danger at the southwestern Colorado resort and also got rid of hazardous trees. But he says it also allowed a new ski lift to be built and created some new beginner and intermediate trails.

The trees were dead for five or six years so only about 20 percent of the wood was good enough to be sold to the timber industry. The rest will be used as firewood or burned in a slash pile.

The southern San Juan Mountains, including the ski area, were hit hard by a spruce beetle infestation in the mid-2000s.

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