The Douglas fir beetle is slowly creeping towards the city and when it hits a Douglas fir, the needles go yellow, then red, and the tree dies.
“What’s been happening is the mountain pine beetle killed everything, spruce beetle is moving in from the east, and Douglas fir beetle is already in the Prince George timber supply area,” Robert Schuetz of Industrial Forestry Service told city council Monday.
He said the Summit Lake has been heavily hit and this year spot infestations of Douglas fir beetles have been detected in L.C. Gunn Park, the North Necako area, and across from the Parkhill Centre.
There are number of Douglas fir trees around Connaught Hill, however, those have not been infested.
Schuetz, along with Carrier Lumber president Bill Kordyban, are proposing a partnership between the city, Carrier Lumber, and the Ministry of Forests to hopefully quell the Douglas fir infestation.
“Perhaps it’s my paranoia with my experience with the mountain pine beetle,”said Kordyban. “One of the iconic features of Prince George is the forested escarpments. I think people would be surprised at the amount of Douglas fir that is around the city. By the time it turns red, it’s too late.”
The infestation increased from 1,000 hectares to 8,000 hectares in the district in past year, said Schuetz. He said a Douglas fir outbreak will typically hit about 100 trees at a time. The beetles like to nest in the older, decadent trees. Schuetz said one of the ways the beetle is combated is to when an area is logged, leave several trees on the ground. When the beetles hit those trees and nest in them, they are burned in the winter.
“Doing it with one tree can save about 10 other trees,” he said.
City council was favourable to developing a partnership with the goal of combating the Douglas fir beetle.