EDMONTON – Alberta will spend just over $55 million this year to fight the spread of the mountain pine beetle.
The money, including $50 million in emergency funding, will be used to remove trees already killed by the beetle, cull those that are at-risk and to find new infestations.
Officials from Sustainable Resources Development say crews will focus on two areas just east of the Rocky Mountains.
The department says its goal is to remove as many infested trees as possible before the beetles fly to new ones this July.
Each infested tree contains enough beetles to attack five to 10 more trees, and the province estimates that six million hectares of pine forest in Alberta is at risk.
Officials say that while cold temperatures this winter probably killed off many beetles, more of the bugs could fly into the province this summer from British Columbia.