Salvage logging in the B.C. Interior. Pine, fir and other beetles are monitored by aerial surveys. (Black Press Media)

B.C. forests ministry tracks Douglas fir beetle outbreak

Kootenay infestation ‘not big’ but treatment, firebreak work underway

An outbreak of Douglas fir beetle in the West Kootenay is being monitored and treated, but it’s tiny compared to the mountain pine beetle outbreak that has driven declining harvest and large forest fires elsewhere in the B.C. Interior, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says.

Regular aerial surveys are conducted to track conditions in fir, pine and other forests, and the 2018 map shows a fir beetle infestation across the province has declined in size since 2016, Donaldson told Black Press. That includes cyclical fir beetle outbreaks that are tracked in the Cariboo region. Fir and other beetles are naturally occurring throughout B.C. forests.

“There’s always a background population level, and in a cyclical nature there are outbreaks,” Donaldson said. “We did an aerial survey in 2018, and there were 646 hectares infected in the Kootenay Lake timber supply area, which is a 1.2 million hectare area.

RELATED: Northern timber supply reduction smaller than it appears

RELATED: Douglas fir beetle infestation a crisis, local forester says

“So we’re concerned, obviously, but it’s not big. It’s not a massive outbreak, but we are spending $288,000 this coming year in surveys and treatments in the Selkirk district, which is close to Nelson.”

Those treatments include “trap trees,” with pheromones to attract beetles to trees that are then removed.

Affected areas are also selectively logged to reduce their fire risk, in conjunction with forest companies operating in each region.

“You get a volume out that might not otherwise have been harvested because of concerns of neighbours,” Donaldson said. “You leave stems behind and it creates a better environment for species like mule deer.”

The aerial surveys and treatment protocols were stepped up in the wake of the Interior pine beetle outbreak that has caused a large increase in timber cut to salvage dead trees, and now a sharp decline as forests take decades to recover.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

Police rule out foul play in death of man found in Saanich

The B.C. Coroners Service will now conduct an investigation

West Shore RCMP snag suspected thief with bait bike

GPS-equipped bike leads police to arrest suspect in Langford

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read