Editor’s note: This op-ed, by Robert Gray, comes to us from the VANCOUVER SUN, north of the border, published yesterday.
The mountain pine beetle has severely affected pine forests across more than 25 million hectares (60 million acres) of western North America in the last decade. In the aftermath of this epidemic, is there a significant increase in wildfire threat?
For many given the task of managing wildfires the answer is a resounding yes. However, a recent research paper from a team of scientists based in Colorado suggests that is not the case and that forests killed by the mountain pine beetle do not pose an increased risk to wildfire (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1424037112).