Jody Christensen pilots a Kaman K-MAX 1200 as part of efforts to remove Douglas-fir beetle-infested trees from the city forests in 2016. The K-MAX is a rare and specialized helicopter designed for lifting heavy loads. Angie Mindus file photo

Ministry to target Douglas-fir beetle infestation with heli-logging again

Douglas-fir beetles affected 48,584 hectares within the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Resource District in 2018

The ministry is once again employing the use of heli-logging contractors to target Douglas-fir bettle infestations around the lakecity.

A third year of helicopter logging operations in the Williams Lake area is expected to start this week to help minimize the spread of Douglas-fir beetles on Crown land.

Helicopter logging flights are expected to begin as early as Dec. 20, 2018, in the Esler area. Once work at that site is completed, operations will move to the South Lakeside area and then to a site further south off Anderson Road. All of these helicopter logging activities should be completed by mid-March 2019.

Residents can expect to see helicopters in the air as selective logging operations get underway, but no flights will occur over residential buildings. The aircraft will only be flying during daylight hours and will not be in the air on the upcoming statutory holidays.

These natural forest pests normally attack small groups of trees. A significant infestation can weaken and eventually kill a tree over a period of about one year. However, helicopter logging (to selectively remove infested trees and protect other trees nearby) and related containment treatments have helped slow the spread of the beetles in the Williams Lake area over the past two years.

Read More: Heli-logging aimed at Douglas-fir beetle infestation continues

Read More: Williams Lake Community Forest focuses on fir-beetle, wildfire mitigation and education

These logging activities are being conducted under the direction of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Monitoring of Douglas-fir beetle infestations within previous treatment areas has identified fewer trees currently under attack, so the helicopter logging project is being expanded to new sites.

Owners of livestock and pets 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 the harvesting areas, since doing so can endanger the safety of pilots and workers on the ground.

In addition to directly harvesting infested trees, the Williams Lake Beetle Management Unit 2018 Treatment Plan includes the following activities:

* The anti-aggregative pheromone methyl cyclohexenone will be used to prevent or disrupt Douglas-fir beetle attacks on small infestation sites. This naturally occurring pheromone can successfully repel the beetles from vulnerable areas and also help protect small stands of trees near parks, protected areas, campgrounds, residential properties or old growth management areas. In some cases, the application of this pheromone has reduced Douglas-fir beetle attacks by over 90%.

* “Trap trees” will be established by cutting down large, healthy Douglas-fir trees in accessible areas. The trees will be left on the ground to attract adult beetles in the spring. Trap trees are more successful in attracting adult beetles than standing trees and therefore can greatly reduce the number of attacks on healthy Douglas-fir trees nearby. Once adult beetles and larvae are established within a trap tree, it will be taken to a mill where the beetles and larvae will be 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 present in the bark.

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

The ministry is committed to addressing the spread of Douglas-fir beetles in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District and mitigating 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 available for timber harvesting.

Douglas-fir beetle infestations tend to be cyclical. The last major outbreak in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District (prior to the current outbreak) peaked in 2008, covering about 68,550 hectares.

According to the ministry’s latest mapping data (based on aerial surveys conducted in the summer of 2018), Douglas-fir beetles affected 48,584 hectares within the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Resource District in 2018. About 45,862 hectares were affected in the same region in 2017, with 53,311 hectares affected in 2016.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Casual Country 2020: Sister act

Sacred Heart Catholic Church bells donated by Alkali Lake Ranch owners in 1967

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

FOREST INK: Old growth forests under new management

On April 30, 2020, they submitted 14 recommendations to the Province in their report

No reported COVID-19 transmission in B.C.’s tree planting spring/summer effort

With the fall season winding up mid-October, it is hoped that trend will continue

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

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

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read