The spruce bark beetle Denaroctonus rutipennis activity levels in sc Alaska have increased to nearly a million acres of 'active' infestation. There have been many questions about the fire danger associated with the different phases of the spruce bark beetle's attack on a forest. The 'red needle' phase occurs a year after the successful attack of once healthy stands of spruce. The first sign of beetle attack may be yellowing needles. The needles may remain on the branches for an entire season after the tree dies, and make the trees slightly more flammable during this period. Grass in the understory plays an important role in the fire danger. Recommendations for defensible space for homeowners.