More than half a dozen major fires are burning in vast dead pine forests killed by mountain pine beetles, increasing risks to firefighters and communities.
Fires in beetle-killed pine stands can spread more quickly than in healthy forests, burn more intensely, and the flying embers can start spot fires more often and farther away. In the older dead pine stands, falling trees are a significant threat to firefighters.
“It makes things more difficult for fighting fires and creates uncertainty,” said Daniel Perrakis, a lead fire behaviour research scientist for the B.C. Ministry of Forests.