WISCONSINREPORT.COM (11/17/08) - With Wisconsin’s nine-day regular deer season right around the corner, thousands of hunters across the state are making plans for the annual rituals of deer camp. And while there are many items to pack up as hunters prepare for the season, there’s one item that shouldn’t make the trip: firewood. Firewood can move dormant stages of emerald ash borer (EAB) and other pests and diseases into areas previously free of those problems.
If contaminated wood is brought into Wisconsin hunting areas, hunters or others who camp in the fall may return to their favorite spots next year only to find unhealthy, or possibly fewer, trees at the site.
“Firewood is the perfect medium for moving around unwanted insects and diseases,” said Bob Dahl, chief regulatory officer with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
“Hidden beneath the bark, EAB or other harmful pests or diseases may be safely tucked away from winter’s cold, ready to emerge in the spring from wood that went unused,” Dahl said.
Dahl offered the following guidance regarding firewood movement in Wisconsin:
- Do not bring firewood into Wisconsin from any states that have an EAB quarantine, such as Illinois, Indiana and much of Michigan. Fines for doing so begin at $1,000.
- Firewood cannot be moved out of the four-county quarantine that includes Ozaukee, Washington, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties. Penalties for that violation are $200 and/or six months in jail. It is also considered a criminal offense.
- Only hardwood firewood sold by dealers or manufacturers and certified by DATCP can legally move from the four-county quarantine area.
- Hunters or others traveling through the four-county quarantine with firewood from outside the area may not stay within the quarantine any longer than is necessary to stop for traffic lights, refuel a vehicle or grab a bite to eat.
- If the firewood remains in the area for several hours or overnight, it is then considered to have originated in the quarantine and cannot be legally moved out of the area.
While firewood can legally be transported anywhere within the border of the four-county Wisconsin quarantine, it’s a bad idea. Doing so may result in moving EAB from infested areas to places where it currently may not exist.
“We encourage residents within the quarantine area and elsewhere to get their firewood from local sources, not from miles and miles away,” Dahl said.
The emerald ash borer, an exotic beetle native to Asia, has been responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada since its introduction. The beetle was first detected in Detroit, Mich. in 2002.
For more information about EAB or ways to help slow or prevent its spread, visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov.