A UBC Forestry expert says BC’s Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic may be partly to blame for the tough wildfire season.

Speaking on the Jill Bennett Show, Lori Daniels says the infestation helped create the perfect conditions for intense fires.

“Some of the forest fires we see burning up in the Cariboo, and up in the mountain systems. Many of those fires are burning through forests that have a lot of dead wood on the ground because of mountain pine beetle.”

Daniels says that problem may stem from BC’s long term firefighting strategy.

“By putting out fires so effectively from about the 1940s, it means all of the forests in these remote areas have matured so that the forest was very similar, not very much diversity. So we have prime habitat and food source for the mountain pine beetle.”

She says decades of aggressive fire suppression have allowed forests to mature with single tree-types – which is a perfect feeding ground for the pests.