George Bercheid. Incident Commander. Western spruce budworm control project headquarters. Mt. Hood National Forest.
Photo by and courtesy of: William M. Ciesla Date: 1988
Credit: USDA Forest Service, Region 6, State and Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection. Collection: William M. Ciesla collection; Fort Collins, Colorado.
Bill Ciesla summarized this project in his 2005 Founder's Award address (wfiwc.org/awards/founders-award/speech/ciesla): "Portland, OR - 1988-90 Within days after our return from Chile, I learned that I had been selected to fill the vacancy of Director of Pest Management in R-6, a position that had been vacant for nearly two years. A major outbreak of western spruce budworm was underway in the Region, with several million acres of forests suffering defoliation. Plans were already underway for a large suppression project and I arrived just in time for Regional Forester Jim Torrence to announce that, based on the Environmental Analysis that had been completed, he would authorize treatment of up to 1 million areas providing they met the pre-spray insect population densities that had been established. That project took up virtually all of my time for my first six months in R-6. We successfully treated 600,000 acres, all with undiluted formulations of Bacillus thuringiensis. For the first time, we adapted the Incident Command System (ICS), an organizational structure for managing large wildfire suppression projects, to insect suppression. We established five Incident Command units and an Area Command in Portland. The project involved deployment of over 70 helicopters, a fleet of turbine powered fixed-wing aircraft and over 700 people. I believe it still stands as the largest single western spruce budworm suppression project that involved exclusive use of a biological insecticide. The project was a great success and all of the units treated met the post treatment criteria of < 1 budworm larva/15 inch branch. We conducted smaller western spruce budworm suppression projects in 1989 and 1990."
For information about earlier western spruce budworm activity and control projects in Oregon and Washington see: Dolph, Robert E. 1980. Budworm activity in Oregon and Washington, 1947-1979. R6-FIDM-033-1980. Portland, OR: US Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Forest Insect and Disease Management. 54 p.