How a beetle outbreak may have caused two sawmill explosions in B.C.

t’s a bug the size of a grain of rice, but it has an appetite as big as British Columbia.

With a little help from climate change, the mountain pine beetle has killed or infected 8.7 million hectares of the province’s lodgepole pine forest since 2005. That’s an area almost three times the size of Vancouver Island.

If you’re looking for the cause of the sawmill explosions that killed four workers and injured dozens more in 2012, the beetle is a good place to start.