Pine beetle crisis worsens

The province is preparing for another assault on the mountain pine beetle after the winter cold failed to kill off as many of the forest-destroying pests as experts had hoped.

Surveys conducted at 300 sites recently show a high population growth of the beetle in southwestern Alberta from Kananaskis down to Waterton.

While cold winter temperatures reaching -40 C can achieve kill rates as high as 97.5 per cent, in southern Alberta, more trees are now infested with pine beetles than last year. And across the province, more than six million hectares of forest will be at risk this summer.