Natural resources minister vows to stop mountain pine beetle

The voracious mountain pine beetle is munching its way over the Rockies into Alberta.

And federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said yesterday his priority is to block its eastward shift.

Fire crews in Alberta began a controlled burn yesterday over 7,900 hectares in and around Banff National Park.

The plan is to build a firewall to keep the beetles out of Alberta's jack pine, where two million hectares are at risk.

The beetle has already devoured 40 per cent of B.C.'s pine forests.