ALBERTA

Saskatchewan Might Be Free Of Mountain Pine Beetle

10/28/2015 05:56 EDT | Updated 10/29/2015 10:59 EDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Dead and dying pine trees, infested by mountain pine beetles, stand in this aerial photograph taken above a forest near Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada, on Thursday, June 4, 2015. Since the late 1990s, the grain-of-rice-sized mountain pine beetle has attacked and killed more than 700 million cubic meters of pine trees in the inland forests of British Columbia, Canada's top lumber-producing province. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SASKATOON — There's some promising news on the mountain pine beetle's presence, or lack thereof, in Saskatchewan.

The insect has destroyed millions of hectares of lodgepole pine in British Columbia and Alberta, and there were worries that it could move further north, where there are a lot of Jack pines.

Rory McIntosh, Saskatchewan's forest entomologist and pathologist, says they have found no trace of the dangerous bug in the northwest part of the province for the second straight year.

McIntosh says the situation is also improving in the Cypress Hills area in the southeast, where both Alberta and Saskatchewan are working together to slow down the beetle.

He says they found 260 affected trees, compared to 440 in 2013.

McIntosh hopes that aggressive actions to burn trees immediately after they are affected and a lack of insect immigration could lead to a continuing downward trend.

He says anyone can make a difference to prevent the beetle from arriving in Saskatchewan.

He cautions people to not move, transport, store, or use pine firewood with bark attached.

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