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City plans to remove 200 pine beetle infested trees from local parks

The City of Kelowna will remove more than 200 infested Ponderosa pines from city parks this spring to stop the spread of pine beetle infestation within Kelowna.

Six locations have been targeted for removal of 211 infested trees, including Knox Mountain, Dilworth Mountain, Rutland Lions park, Gopher Creek and properties along Chute Lake Road. Residents might notice some of this work starting Monday.

“We are seeing an increased pine beetle infestation in the areas surrounding Kelowna,” said  Blair Stewart, the city’s urban forest health technician. “There are approximately 600,000 ponderosa pine trees within the city and provincial experts suggest we could lose up to 80 per cent of those over the next five to eight years.”

The public is asked to stay out of areas where crews are working. Only infested and dead trees will be removed.

Infested Ponderosa pines at this time of the year can appear green and healthy and show little sign of attack. Infected trees have been marked with paint or flagging tape. “We’re also encouraging land owners to watch for and remove infested pine trees,” noted Stewart.

“However, in order to stop the spread of the beetle, it is important to remember that infected wood should not be used as firewood, transported, or stored for any length of time unless it is first debarked. Infested bark must be chipped, burned or buried.”

The cumulative area of B.C. affected by the pine beetle is estimated at 13.5 million hectares—about four times the size of Vancouver Island. Residents can learn more about the pine beetle and tree removal at kelowna.ca or call the city’s Pine Beetle Hotline, 250-469-8457.

 

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