ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – The current spruce beetle outbreak in Alaska is in its fourth year and while some places have seen an increase in beetle activity this year, overall, the number of acres impacted has gone down when compared to last year. “Last year we had about 593,000 acres statewide or somewhere around that. Quite a lot,” says Jason Moan, Forest Health Program Manager for the Alaska Division of Forestry. “For reference, the 90s outbreak peaked in 1996 at about 1.1 million acres impacted in a single year.” Moan and other researchers do aerial surveys to look for impacted areas. They concentrated their attention on Southcentral this season. “We haven’t processed this year’s date, but it’s fair to say we saw less active damage than we did last year or even probably the year before,” says Moan. But Moan admits that’s probably little consolation for those on the edges of the outbreak where activity is still increasing. “Certainly parts of the northern and western Susitna Valley are still on the increase, the eastern parts of the valley, as well as some of the areas in the western Chugach and parts of the Municipality for sure,” Moan says. “We’re see...