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Firewood Couple

Reduce EAB Spread: Use Local Firewood

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Many people enjoy the glow of the fireplace during the holiday season and many people use wood as a heating source during the fall and winter in Illinois. Firewood can be purchased from individuals, dealers or retail stores or cut by the user. But, early winter weather such as last year can reduce the accessibility for many people to cut their own firewood.

With the presence of Emerald Ash Borer, a relatively new pest to Illinois, persons are encouraged to use local sources of firewood, especially ash wood, and to know the source of the wood. The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in over 50 locations in the northern one-half of Illinois since June, 2006, from the Illinois-Wisconsin state line to as far south as the Bloomington area. It was first identified at one location in Kane County.

The Illinois and U.S. Departments of Agriculture are working with communities and industry to try to control the spread. The Emerald Ash Borer only affects ash trees. Since the borers do not typically travel far on their own, reducing human transport of the pest can help slow the spread of the problem. Areas identified with the Emerald Ash Borer are officially quarantined to restrict the movement of wood, wood products and the borer.

"One of the things that individuals can do to help reduce the spread of the pest is to use local firewood," says John Church, University of Illinois Extension Educator, Natural Resources, Rockford. If buying ash firewood for the winter, be sure of its source. Don't bring in firewood, or other ash wood products, from infested areas or from a long distance. If camping in infested areas, leave unused firewood at that site.

For more information on the borer, contact the local University of Illinois Extension office, go to the U. of I. Rockford Extension Center website at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/rockfordcenter/nre2131.html. Or go to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) website at www.agr.state.il.us/eab. The IDOA website contains control and quarantine information as well as information on what to do with downed trees and limbs from affected trees.

For additional information on varieties of firewood, characteristics and purchase, go to the U. of I. Extension website web.extension.uiuc.edu/forestry/timber_harvest/firewood.html.

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