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Trees on border of Jasper park being burned to combat mountain pine beetle

Wed, Nov 13 - A University of Alberta professor is praying for a long, cold winter to help take out the pine beetle. Laurel Gregory reports.

Foresters and provincial officials are burning tens of thousands of trees along the boundary of Jasper National Park to try to slow the spread of mountain pine beetles.

READ MORE: Mountain pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving east into commercial forest 

Mike Underschulz of Alberta Agriculture says the province is spending up to $20 million this year to keep the destructive bugs at a manageable level in the commercially valuable forest to the east of the park.

He says the extensive infestation in the park is making the work difficult.

READ MORE: Increased wildfire risk in Jasper due to pine beetles, says MP

Richard Briand of West Fraser Timber says the company has moved crews from other areas of its lease to deal with infected trees near Hinton.

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He says the company has had to change its long-term plans because of damage from the beetles.

READ MORE: ‘Beautiful smell’ is a tree’s worst enemy against mountain pine beetles

Smoke from the burning obscured the Yellowhead Highway near Hinton earlier this week.