The U.S. Forest Service released the results of the annual aerial forest health survey in Wyoming last month which indicate that the mountain pine beetle epidemic here is on the decline. Statewide, the survey shows the number of acres affected has declined from 719-thousand in 2011 to 180-thousand acres in 2012. The total footprint of the outbreak is now 3.4 million acres since 1996. Specifically, National Forests and adjacent lands in Lincoln, Sublette, Uinta, Freemont, Park and Teton counties saw mountain pine beetle activity decline from 280-thousand acres in 2011 to 83-thousand acres in 2012 in lodge pole and 5-needle pines largely due to susceptible host depletion. Still, the thousands of acres of trees left dead by previous beetle activity continue to pose concern for forest managers, helping elevate the susceptibility of the forest to wildfire.