The forests of Southwest Colorado may be facing yet another new and highly destructive threat: the pine beetle. “It’s not completely unexpected, but it’s worrisome,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, a forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Columbine District, which manages nearly 700,000 acres of the San Juan National Forest in La Plata and San Juan counties. Over the past two decades, more than 120,000 acres of the Weminuche Wilderness – Colorado’s largest designated wilderness area at 488,210 acres – have fallen prey to the destructive spruce beetle. …The pine beetle, on the other hand, is another destructive force all its own. …Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of preventing a beetle outbreak. Certain steps, such as thinning and prescribed burns, can hold off a massive die-off, but those costly measures can work only for so long.