Biscuit fireAs mountain pine beetles and other insects chew their way through Western forests, forest fires might not seem far behind. Lands covered by dead trees appear ready to burst into flame.
However, an analysis of wildfire extent in Oregon and Washington over the past 30 years shows very little difference in the likelihood of fires in forests with and without insect damage. Indeed , other factors – drought, storms, and fuel accumulation from years of fire suppression – may be more important than insects in determining if fire is more or less likely from year to year.

By Denise Ruttan

Spotted wing drosophilaPhoto by Lynn Ketchum
Spotted wing drosophila is studied at OSU's Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research Center.

The latest research-based guidelines for managing insect pests, plant diseases and weeds in the Pacific Northwest are available through three newly updated, comprehensive guides, which were developed by the Extension Services of Oregon State University, the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: Purchase copies online at: Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.