09/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wildfire Outbreaks Spark Debate Over Roads In National Parks

VAIL -- A small but scary wildfire that broke out in the national forest above West Vail Friday afternoon perfectly underscored the ongoing debate between the state's Department of Natural Resources and environmentalists over Colorado's controversial roadless rule.
Trees killed off by back beetles, like these in Summit County, scar the landscape across Colorado and ready to go up in flames. (Creative Commons photo by vsmoothe via Flickr)

The blaze was in a roadless area on a steep, densely wooded hillside above two Vail neighborhoods packed with ski lodges, condos and homes in what's known as the Wildland Urban Interface. And the trees were mostly red and dead lodgepole pines ready to explode into an inferno in the hot summer wind.

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