Voracious mountain pine beetles on hold in forests northwest of Edmonton

Eyeing a stack of rough lumber, Stefan Demharter spots the telltale blue stain fungus spread by the Mountain Pine Beetle.

“It’s here, and there, and there ... there is quite of bit of it, but this is a good news story. It means we are cutting the trees before they’re dead,” said Demharter, Millar Western’s vice-president of wood products.

Fox Creek and its Millar Western sawmill is in the middle of Alberta’s largest lodgepole pine forests, and also in the centre of the province’s holding zone in the desperate war to stop the spread of the voracious beetles that will have eaten through 75 per cent of British Columbia’s pine forests by the time the infestation peters out in a few more years.