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County begins work on thinning trees infested with pine beetles

The County of Grande Prairie has begun work on removing dead pine beetle-infested trees in a 20-hectare patch of land between Peace Area Riding for the Disabled and the Pine Valley South subdivision.

Director of Community Services Dan Lemieux says with wildfires starting across Alberta, a project like this goes a long way when it comes to mitigation in the county.

“Looking at the risks, doing some risk assessment and then taking some proactive steps to try and prevent the big wildfires and that’s part of the FireSmart program.”

Pine Beetles lay their eggs under the top layer of bark on certain pine trees, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae then eat on the flesh of the tree, eventually sapping all of its nutrients and leaving it dead.

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Lemieux says, for the most part, people tend to understand the need for the clear cutting the dead trees, but some have yet to get fully on board.

“There are some people concerned when we take out trees, but I think we have to be conscious of the fact that the Pine Beetle has hit us fairly hard and we need to keep on top of it.”

The work is expected to finish up by the middle of June.

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