My first glimpse of what has become a catastrophic natural disaster for B.C. was in 2003, when I was travelling around the province writing stories from the so-called heartland.
At that point, the mountain pine beetle was already into its fourth voracious year of attacking B.C.'s pine forests. In my stopovers in Quesnel and Prince George, the briefest glance from the car window was all it took to see the damage. In the worst-hit spots, dead trees covered the landscape.