Lodgepole pine infested by pine beetles
Infested by mountain pine beetles, a dead lodgepole pine tree remains standing in South Cottonwood Canyon in the Gallatin National Forest in this 2010 photo. The mountain pine beetle has killed hundreds of trees in the area creating brown blotches of dead trees in Montana.

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — State forestry officials say while the mountain pine beetle epidemic has passed its peak, survey results show it's not yet over.

Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division Pest Management Specialist Amy Gannon told the Board of Land Commissioners Monday more than 526,000 acres of pine trees were infested with the beetle in 2013. Gannon says that amount is still significant as the insects continue to leave stands of dead trees in their wake.

The most active outbreaks remain in the southern part of the Bitterroot National Forest and in the Big Hole area in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Since 2000, the epidemic has spread across more than 6 million acres, or 23 percent of the state's 26 million acres of forest on private, state and federal lands.

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