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B.C. pine beetle kill has peaked: forester

B.C.'s chief forester expects the province's pine beetles infestation to gradually come to an end during the next seven years.

End to infestation in sight

B.C.'s chief forester expects the province's pine beetle infestation to gradually come to an end during the next seven years.

A decade after the infestation started, mountain pine beetles are still attacking pine trees in parks, forests and residential backyards.

But after devouring much of the available forest, most beetles have eaten themselves out of house and home and the infestation has peaked, B.C.'s chief forester said.

As a result, Jim Snetsinger said the forests are beginning to rebound.  

"We've been harvesting and salvaging dead pine and replanting," he said. "The forests are recovering."

Snetsinger also said beetles have killed fewer trees than once feared.

"It's less dramatic than we thought," he said. "But, anytime you affect 20 per cent of your timber supply it's a significant impact."

Snetsinger said pockets of beetles are still attacking trees in northeastern and southeastern B.C., which is why he expects the infestation to continue until 2018.