DISASTERS

Colorado report says forests infested with beetles no more likely to burn than healthy ones

  • FILE - This July 5, 2005 file photo, shows pine trees in the White River National Forest near Frisco, Colo. Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears of far-reaching wildfires, but a 2015 University of Colorado study has found no evidence the bugs are making fires spread farther. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

    FILE - This July 5, 2005 file photo, shows pine trees in the White River National Forest near Frisco, Colo. Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears of far-reaching wildfires, but a 2015 University of Colorado study has found no evidence the bugs are making fires spread farther. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 24, 2013 file photo, dead, brown, beetle-killed trees mix with live trees as a wildfire burns west of Creede, Colo. Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears of far-reaching wildfires, but a 2015 University of Colorado study has found no evidence the bugs are making fires spread farther. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

    FILE - In this June 24, 2013 file photo, dead, brown, beetle-killed trees mix with live trees as a wildfire burns west of Creede, Colo. Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears of far-reaching wildfires, but a 2015 University of Colorado study has found no evidence the bugs are making fires spread farther. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)  (The Associated Press)

Mountain pine beetles have left vast tracts of dead, dry trees in the West, raising fears that they're more vulnerable to wildfire outbreaks, but a new study found no evidence that bug-infested forests are more likely to burn than healthy ones.

In a paper released Monday, University of Colorado researchers say weather and terrain are bigger factors in determining whether a forest will burn than beetle invasions.

The findings could provide some comfort to people who live near beetle-infested forests, if those trees are no more likely to burn.

But the study acknowledges that other researchers have found that trees killed by beetles pose different fire risks.

Previous studies by the U.S. Forest Service found beetle-killed trees ignite faster and burn more quickly than healthy trees.