Forest recovery from Lake Christine fire could take centuries

Aspen-area forests took a beating this year from drought and hot temperatures while parts of Basalt Mountain suffered severe enough fire damage that it could take centuries for some vegetation types to recover, according to an assessment by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

ACES released its annual State of the Forest Report on Friday. For the past five years it has produced the report to help Roaring Fork Valley residents gauge how the surrounding forests are faring with challenges such as disease and insects.

This year, the assessment took a definitive direction that seems destined to repeat in coming years, Adam McCurdy, ACES forest program director, said Friday.

“The story of drought in our forest seems to be the pervasive theme for the foreseeable future,” McCurdy said.

While snowfall in the Roaring Fork River watershed is hovering around average this winter, “we’re still a long way from catching up,” he said.

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