Expect to see helicopters in the air in the Chimney Valley area next week as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, Rural Development expands helicopter-logging operations in the Williams Lake area to minimize the spread of Douglas fir beetles on Crown land.
The heli-logging program has recently been expanded to the Chimney Valley in the area west of Dog Creek Road along Chimney Creek (south of Williams Lake).
“Last year we had a number of people in the Chimney Valley area contact us saying that they had a significant number of douglas fir trees that were attacked by beetle,” says Ministry resource manager Jennifer Bowman.
“This year we are able to go into that area and do the steep slope area…We’ll be doing about 500 trees in that area.”
The aircraft will only be flying during daylight hours and will not be in the air on statutory holidays. No flights will occur over residential buildings.
The Ministry advises owners of livestock and pets to take precautions to protect their animals from injuring themselves should they become started to helicopter noise.
For safety reasons, members of the public are also should stay away from active harvesting areas.
Douglas fir beetle populations are higher than normal in parts of the Cariboo and have affected according to the Ministry’s latest mapping dated affected 45,862 hectares in 2017.
The insects normally attack small groups of trees, and a significant infestation will weaken and eventually kill a tree over the period of about a year.
Crews have currently been working in the South Lakeside, Esler and Fox Mountain areas, and on Slater Mountain (above Mile 168 Road) to remove infested trees.
“Progress has been moving along,” says Bowman.
“We’ve been able to work through Esler. We’ve been working on North Lakeside and expect to finish that in the next day or so and then we’ll be doing one day of work in Slater Mountain and then be able to move into the Chimney Valley area.”
“We expect everything to be done by the end of February.”