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DEM Advises Campers and Other Vacationers to Use Only Local Firewood to Avoid Import of Invasive Wood-Boring Insects

PROVIDENCE - As campers and other vacationers prepare for their upcoming getaways, the Department of Environmental Management is urging them to refrain from transporting firewood to and from other areas, and to use, instead, only local firewood at their campsites and summer cottages.

There are many species of insects and diseases that can be spread through the movement of firewood including Asian Longhorned Beetle, emerald ash borer, and Sirex woodwasps, none of which are currently found in Rhode Island. Emerald ash borer, first detected in North America near Detroit in 2002, has since killed more than 25 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. More than 75 percent of emerald ash borer infestation sites with known origins resulted from firewood movement.

Tree-eating, non-native insects can be transported in firewood, with the potential to cause damage costing millions of dollars in clean-up, eradication, and replanting efforts. In fact, the issue of invasive species is one of the US Forest Service's top four threats. Detection of the emerald ash borer, an exotic invasive insect that attacks Ash trees, was recently discovered in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The financial impact from invasive species infestations in the United States has been estimated at $138 billion per year in total economic damages and associated control costs.

Rhode Islanders should be aware that they can carry local infestations of Gypsy moth eggs and Hemlock woolly adelgid in their own firewood, and should not transport it elsewhere. When potentially infested firewood is moved, any pests that emerge can seriously threaten the trees in the new community. You cannot tell just by looking at it whether or not a log is infested. Insects and diseases can be in or underneath the bark of infested logs, as well as on it.

PLEASE BUY AND BURN FIREWOOD LOCALLY

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management

Online: http://www.dem.ri.gov/

Release date: 06-26-2013

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