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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Memo to Minister Lunn - Firewalls Will Not Stop Pine Beetle.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn is reported to have said his goal is to stop the mountain pine beetle from moving east beyond Alberta. The MPB is already well established in Alberta by the way and is moving east quite effectively. The methodology Lunn intends to use is burning larges segments of the forest instead of letting the beetle eat it. Mighty clever Mr. Minister! Mighty clever!

Lunn is reported to being “committed” to spending another $50m “…to keep the beetle out of B.C. boreal forest,” (WHAT!!!) The MPB has already devoured 40% of the BC forest and conservative estimates indicate the tipping point has passed and likely 80% is gone. This is like watering the lawn after the tsunami has hit the house.

Mr. Minister burning “firewalls” will not stop the beetle. They migrate on air currents so they will just leap over your stupid firewall and continue on. The beetle rides on air currents and that is how they got into Alberta from BC in the first place. They managed to cross the Rocky Mountains on air currents for God’s sake…how is a firewall going to make any difference in the face of that reality?

Firewalls are effective at one thing, controlling the spread of forest fires. That is what they should be used for. The beetles leave vast areas of standing dead dry trees that are prefect for a lightening strike and a massive size and number of forest fires. Given that reality burning firewalls around forest related towns like Banff, Jasper, Grande Cache, Hinton, Edson and Whitecourt would make sense. Firewalls are needed to protect these towns from forest fires NOT to stop the spread of the beetles.

B.C dropped the Beetle-ball and now it is obvious the Feds are being stupid about what to do about the infestation. Mother Nature is not happy and she is showing it. Our species like all others in the forest have one intelligent and responsible response to the beetle…ADAPT.