Alberta Parks officials have issued a notice to the public that in the coming days until the end of March 2024, the Calgary Forest Area will be undergoing a Mountain Pine Beetle control program (MPB), which may include burning.

According to the notice various contractors and subcontractors will be working in different areas of the Bow Valley and Kananaskis.

"We have MPB west of Barrier Lake in Kananaskis, Bow Valley Provincial Park, and spread throughout the Bow Valley from Exshaw to the Banff National Park boundary," the notice stated.

Parks officials added that daily emergency services notification of burn activity/locations will commence 24 hours before ignition.

"If you are out in these areas, you may see our MPB signage, surveyors, inspectors, and control crews in trucks, quads, and snowmobiles. Most notably, when conditions are safe to burn, you will see smoke in the air from control crew work."

According to the province, the mountain pine beetle, the destructive tree pest, if left unmanaged could devastate the province's forests.

"The MPB kills pine trees by clogging and destroying the conductive tissue of the tree by introducing a blue-stain fungus when attacking the tree. Its larvae feed in the phloem of the tree. The action of blue-stain fungi and larval feeding can kill the tree within one month of the attack," the province's website states.

Hence, both a short-term and long-term strategy has been employed to control the mountain pine beetle population. 

According to Natural Recourses Canada, 'An ongoing outbreak of mountain pine beetle that started in British Columbia in the early 1990s has affected more than 18 million hectares of forest.

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