Fires in B.C.’s vast beetle-killed stands of pine are burning hotter and faster than typical forest fires, reports The Vancouver Sun here. Daniel Perrakis, a research scientist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, tells us that the unpredictable behaviour of these beetle-kill fires creates added uncertainty for fire fighters. The older the dead timber, the greater the risk of falling trees. Water and fire retardants are also less effective.
On the heels of Mayor Gerry Thiessen’s update regarding fire control measures, it’s interesting to learn in the report that test fires were conducted just south of his Vanderhoof community. Those tests reportedly found that fire spreads over two and a half times faster in beetle-killed stands than in healthy trees, and burns with higher intensity. Bark on these “crackling-dry” grey trees easily pulls away from the trunk, sending more embers into the air which jump fire breaks, lakes, and rivers. We’re told that scientists expect these intensified fire problems caused by the beetle epidemic to last 15 to 20 years.
Fortunately the Douglas Lake Ranch, where Dakeryn Industries just spent a weekend Company retreat, was not threatened with fires or evacuation orders. The area is part of B.C.’s interior land mass comprised of half a million acres of protected and managed land base, where we found plenty of room to stretch our legs, breathe fresh air, and test the rainbow-rich waters of Stoney Lake.