Troublesome beetles spotted close to Yukon border

The Yukon Government is monitoring the Mountain Pine Beetle as it moves closer to the Yukon border from British Columbia.

Mountain Pine Beetle has been ravaging B.C. forests for years

A Mountain Pine beetle or bark beetle is seen on the tip of forester Cal Wettstein's knife during the examination of trees in the White River National Forest near Vail, Colo., in this July 5, 2005 file photo. The beetle has also ravaged forests in B.C., and has been spotted close to the Yukon border. (Ed Andrieski/AP Photo)

The Yukon Government continues to monitor the Mountain Pine Beetle as it moves north through B.C.

The beetle has been spotted as close as 50 kilometres from the border, putting Yukon's pine forest at risk.

Territorial officials will soon host a meeting on the issue as the government prepares for the infestation.

"It's inevitable that at some point they will be here." said Rob Legare, who looks after the forest health program for the territorial government.

He said it's uncertain what the beetle’s impact will look like when it does arrive, but he says the northern B.C. border shows some possible results.

"You don't get that wide swath of grey trees everywhere, it's more spotty," said Legare.

In B.C., one big concern is timber. But in Yukon, the wood industry is small.

Legare said the Yukon government is examining other concerns.

"There's caribou, there's hydrology, there's fire risk, traditional uses," he said.

In June, Yukon will host a pine beetle meeting with provincial and territorial governments, as well as First Nations groups.

Tim Ebata will represent B-C.

"The beetle has surprised everyone with this outbreak just because it's doing things that have never been recorded before and moving further north, particularly with warming climate," said Tim Ebata, who will represent B.C. at the meeting.

The Yukon government will also continue ground and aerial surveys.