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Burning for beetles

The Ministry of Forests says the public can expect to see smoke from burning slash piles in the areas being logged for Douglas-fir beetle around Williams Lake.  - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
The Ministry of Forests says the public can expect to see smoke from burning slash piles in the areas being logged for Douglas-fir beetle around Williams Lake.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

During the next couple of months Williams Lake residents can expect to see the smoke of slash burning piles due to the Douglas-fir beetle harvesting taking place around the city.

When asked why the wood waste is being burned rather than being transported to Atlantic Power Corporation’s biomass-fired generating plant, a spokesperson for the ministry of forests said the main focus is to remove and destroy the Douglas-fir bark beetle as quickly as possible.

“Under the terms of the contract, the requirement was to destroy the beetles,” the ministry spokesperson told the Tribune. “In this case, slash piles are being burned as it is a quick and cost effective treatment. Infested trees have already been shipped to the mill to be processed.”

The ministry confirmed the burning is only to take place when venting conditions allow.

On Monday, however, there were large slash piles burning at the end of South Lakeside, even prompting calls to the Williams Lake Fire Department.

By the end of the day smoke was hanging over the Russett Bluff neighbourhood, so when asked about venting, the ministry said originally venting had been predicted to be fair, but ended up being poor.

Slash pile burning at the South Lakeside site was expected to be completed on Tuesday, while on Wednesday and Thursday it was taking place at the end of Woodland Drive in the forest.

In addition to the burning, crews will be out cleaning up local trails from the logging, the ministry said.

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