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Thursday, July 27, 2006
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced an emergency regulation that prohibits bringing to or using at IDNR sites, firewood from any area where quarantine has been imposed due to the discovery of the emerald ash borer (EAB). The new regulation, which is effective immediately, is intended to help prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer, particularly to any state park, fish and wildlife area, conservation area, recreation area, natural area or other property owned or managed by the IDNR.
The new regulation also bans the sale or distribution of firewood at IDNR sites unless authorized in writing by IDNR. Many state parks offer firewood for purchase through local vendors and concessionaires. Through these agreements, IDNR will be able to monitor and control the source of firewood. Visitors may be asked to forfeit firewood by site or campground personnel if it has been brought to state sites from EAB quarantine areas.
"Our message to campers, picnickers and other visitors to our state parks is clear – do not bring firewood to our parks if you know the wood is from an area under quarantine due to emerald ash borer," said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. "Whether you're coming to a state campground or having a family gathering at a park shelter, make sure you buy or bring only firewood that is well-seasoned and can be totally burned during your visit. With firewood, if you bring it, we want you to burn it before you leave the site. Consider using alternatives like charcoal and pre-fabricated logs that are available at retail outlets."
Transporting firewood is one way the emerald ash borer can be spread from areas with infested trees. Quarantines are imposed to prevent infested ash firewood, logs or nursery trees from being transported and starting new infestations.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently established a quarantine zone in Kane County, site of the first EAB infestation in the state. Movement of ash trees and ash materials out of the 51 square mile area is prohibited to control the spread of the invasive pest. IDOA also is conducting a tree survey of an EAB infestation in Wilmette, and will amend the boundaries of its quarantine to include this area of Cook County after the severity of the infestation has been determined. Areas of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are under quarantine for EAB as well.
"Prevention is the only way to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer because no treatments currently exist to cure infested trees," Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "The insect can fly only short distances on its own, so limiting the movement of firewood and other potentially-infested wood products is the single most important step we can take to prevent the introduction of the pest to new areas and protect our state's ash trees."
Emerald ash borer is an exotic non-native insect that was first discovered in the U.S. near Detroit, Michigan in 2002, and thought to have been transported from Asia in wood packing material shipped to the U.S. Adult beetles cause some damage to ash trees by eating foliage. The most significant damage is the result of EAB larvae feeding on the inner bark of ash trees, eventually killing the affected trees. More than 20 million trees are dead or dying in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio due to the damage causes by the pest.
In addition to the ban on firewood from quarantine areas being brought to or used at state sites, IDNR is participating in an expansion of the search for EAB through stepped up monitoring for the beetle at state sites throughout northern and central Illinois.
Citizens can also help in detecting EAB. The presence of the bug is difficult to detect in newly infested trees. Watch for beetles of a metallic-green color about half the diameter of a penny on or near ash trees that are showing signs of disease or stress. Signs of the beetles in ash trees also include D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and shoots growing from the base of the tree. Those who suspect EAB should contact their local county Cooperative Extension Service office.
For more information on EAB, check the web site at www.emeraldashborer.info.
IDNR Emergency Rule Regarding Firewood at State Sites:
Amendment to 17 Ill. Adm. Code 110: Public Use of State Parks and Other Properties of the Department of Natural Resources
"It shall be unlawful:
For any person to bring or possess on Department of Natural Resources properties firewood from any geographical area where wood exportation has been prohibited by either State or federal quarantine; or to sell or distribute firewood on Department properties without prior written agreement with the Department pursuant to 17 Ill. Adm. Code 150 – Regulations for the Letting of Concessions, Farm Leases, Sale of Buildings and Facilities, and Demolitions. Department staff may confiscate any firewood brought onto Department properties found to be in violation of this Part."
The new rule takes effect immediately and will be in effect for 150 days while a permanent rule is developed.