Deer nibble on fir tree needles at Esler where logging is underway. The Ministry of Forests

Deer nibble on fir tree needles at Esler where logging is underway. The Ministry of Forests

Heli-logging to start this week to combat bark beetles

Residents of the Williams Lake area will see helicopters in the air this week.

  • Dec. 13, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Residents of the Williams Lake area will see helicopters in the air this week as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations implements its treatment plan to minimize the spread of Douglas-fir bark beetles on Crown land through selective heli-logging.

Populations of Douglas-fir beetles are currently higher than normal in parts of the Cariboo Region. As part of the Williams Lake Beetle Management Unit 2016 Treatment Plan, helicopter harvesting will be used on steep slopes in the Williams Lake area to remove trees infested with the beetles and prevent damage to healthy trees nearby.

Flying could begin later this week, near the Williams Lake Stockyards and above Mile 168 Road (near Commodore Heights). When the work there is completed, helicopter operations will move to the Hodgson Road, Esler and South Lakeside areas and wrap up by Feb. 15, 2017.

Residents will hear the helicopters at work, but the aircraft will only be flying during daylight hours and will not be in the air on upcoming statutory holidays. No flights will occur over residential buildings.

Livestock and pet owners are advised to take precautions to protect their animals from injuring themselves. Horses in particular can be sensitive to helicopter noise and may run if startled.

For safety reasons, members of the public should stay away from active harvesting areas. They are also reminded that unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) must not be operated anywhere near these areas, since doing so can endanger the safety of pilots and workers on the ground.

In addition to the direct harvesting of infested trees, the Douglas-fir bark beetle treatment plan for the Williams Lake area includes the following activities:

The anti-aggregative pheromone methyl cyclo hexenone (MCH) will be used to prevent or disrupt Douglas-fir beetle attacks on very small infestation sites.

“Trap trees” will be established by falling large, healthy Douglas-fir trees in accessible areas. These trees attract beetles in the spring.  Once adult beetles and larvae are established within a trap tree, the tree is taken to a mill where the beetles and larvae are destroyed in the milling process.

Where appropriate and if no other practical options are available, some infested trees may be cut down and burned on site to destroy the beetles in the bark.

Funnel traps will also be deployed around mill yards and log storage areas to capture adult beetles.

The ministry is committed to controlling the spread of Douglas-fir beetles in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District and limiting their impacts on the mid-term timber supply, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and wildfire management.

The Williams Lake Timber Supply Area contains 3.24 million hectares of forest, with 1.83 million hectares considered to be available for timber harvesting.

Douglas-fir beetle infestations tend to be cyclical and the last major outbreak in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District peaked in 2008, covering about 68,550 hectares. The volume of timber killed by the Douglas-fir beetle in the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area that year was about 172,534 cubic metres.

According to the ministry’s latest mapping data (based on aerial surveys conducted in the summer of 2016), the beetles killed 81,223 cubic metres of timber in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District in 2015.

Read more about Douglas-fir beetle management or download a guide to managing Douglas-fir beetles on private property at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/forest-pests/bark-beetles/douglas-fir-beetle/management.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read