The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations have released a guide for owners of private land in the Cariboo to help manage Douglas-fir Beetles.
Jody Axelson, Regional Forest Entomologist for the Cariboo Region, says the beetles which have been increasing in population within the area following forest fires from 2009/2010 can damage or kill Douglas-fir trees wherever they may grow.
“An event such as a wildfire will naturally increase the fir-beetle population because they are going after the trees that have been not totally killed by the fire but weakened by the fire.”
“When that population increases they are able to move into areas that don’t necessarily have fire-scarred trees and kill healthy trees.”
Axelson, says as destructive and troublesome the beetle may be, she does not believe the fir-beetle will add as much fuel to possible future fires in comparison to the mountain pine beetle.
“It doesn’t have an explosive population like the pine beetle; the insect’s biology is different.”
“You’re going to tend to get these small clumps of affected area which at the landscape level, I don’t think poses increased wildfire risk. That said, if you have fir-beetle killed trees along the highway corridor, there’s always that potential.”
Trees that appear red are a tell-tale sign of the Douglas fir beetle, Axelson says.
The guide which includes information on safely removing and disposing of trees that are under attack from the fir-beetle can be found on the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations website.