rapid city, sd
People living in KELOLAND will soon learn more about the pine beetle infestation in western South Dakota.
While driving along roads in the Black Hills, visitors can see areas of brown, dead trees where pine beetles have taken over.
But Monday morning, Governor Dennis Daugaard will get a bird's eye view of the situation to get a better perspective on the infestation's impact.
The beetles have killed millions of trees in the Mountain West in recent years. The U.S. Forest Service estimates the beetles have damaged 400,000 acres of the 1.2 million acre Black Hills National Forest in southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming.
Timber industry spokesman Carson Engelskirger says the beetles are spreading quickly. Black Hills National Forest spokesman Frank Carroll says officials expect at least another 40,000 acres to become infected this year.
At 11:00 a.m. MDT in Hill City, the governor will announce a new state-funded program to help the Black Hills Forest with the pine beetle infestation. That's when we'll find out how much money is being allocated and where the money will come from.
Austin Hoffman is in the plane with Governor Daugaard and will bring you the details of the program and images from the air today on KELOLAND News.