RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - "We lived perfectly content in this giant green blanket of forest for twenty or thirty years, and one day we woke up and it was turning red."
Frank Carroll of Professional Forest Management, LLC says that change in the forest took an emotional toll on residents who grew up in the Black Hills and were watching their backyard change.
Some of those residents worked to find some good in the destruction.
Scott O'Connor and his brother, both firefighters for Rapid City, began working in fuel mitigation. The downed pine beetle trees added to fire danger of the forest, and O'Connor said the mitigation helped protect both the residents and those fighting fires in the forest.
As another nod to the Black Hills, O'Connor and his wife had custom tables made for their new Dunn Brothers location. The tables were made by local contractors from local pine beetle trees. To O'Connor the blue wood adds a personal touch from his work with his brother to his work with his wife.