Spraying To Begin In Lincoln Forest Next Week

Friday, November 2nd 2007, 8:01 am
By: News On 6

CLOUDCROFT, N.M. (AP) _ Officials with the Lincoln National Forest say they will begin bacterial sprays next week in an effort to contain an infestation of looper caterpillars.

The spraying was delayed until biologists could ensure the federally protected Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly wouldn't be harmed. Surveys show the checkerspots have gone dormant for the season.

Forest administrators are dealing with a looper outbreak that has affected up to 12,000 acres.

For the past two years, the loopers have defoliated swaths of white and Douglas fir, raising concerns that any forest fire could be catastrophic.

The plan calls for spraying a chemical known as Btk over more than 4,400 acres of forest land adjacent to private property in the Cloudcroft area.

Forest officials say spraying will start Monday as long as the weather cooperates.