Usually around this time of year we make an annual day trip up to the Chilcotin to cut a smallish truck load of dead Chilcotin pine (Lodgepole Pine killed by Pine Beetles). We've been doing it for a lot of years and it never seems hard to find half a dozen trees to cut down, split and load up. It's so dry in the western Chilcotin area normally (12-15" of rain per year) and then this summer and fall has been very dry that the standing dead pine is totally bone dry - you can put it straight into the fireplace. We like it because it has such a lovely thick pine odour when you burn it, and can be outside on a calm winter day.
The blue ring around the the log is the "blue stain fungus", it is what actually kills the pine tree. The beetle merely irritates the tree and the tree tries to plug the beetles holes by putting out pitch. But it is already too late for the tree at this point because when the beetles arrive on the tree and bore in they are carrying spores of the blue stain fungus, which fairly rapidly colonizes the nutrient carrying cells of the outer tree and literally chokes the pine tree. I am not sure what the evolutionary advantage the pine beetle has by ensuring that all it's food source dies, other than it sure is a great way to get a new forest of pine started.
It was an incredible 21 C in the Western Chilcotin today to boot. Grizzly
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