Memorial Day Weekend was the first busy camping weekend of the summer and foresters asked that campers leave their wood at home. Bringing firewood into the woods brings tree-killing insects in with it. The U.S. Forest Service says this causes billions of dollars in damage each summer, according to Yahoo! News.
A better plan would be to get fire wood near your camping destination instead. In a car, insects can move hundreds of miles in a day where it would take them years to migrate that far on their own.
International trade from Asia and Europe brings new insect species to North America and there are no native predators here to keep the new population in check. These kinds of insects cause about $120 billion in damage, lost revenue, and prevention expenses every year.
Since wood from trees that died from insect infestation is often sold as firewood, the problem rapidly spreads. In New Hampshire, half of all campers come from others states and half of all campers bring firewood from home. Minnesota has similar statistics with about 50,000 loads of firewood being brought into areas where it does not belong.
Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, and Ontario are all fighting against the emerald ash borer that has killed more than 20 million ash trees. The half-inch long, metallic-green beetle feeds on the layer of wood just beneath the bark which carried water and nutrients to the tree.
The Forest Service is encouraging people to leave their firewood at home and get it at their destination instead. If the problem continues to spread, more states will have to institute a ban like the ones in the Midwest. States ban the movement of firewood when they detect an outbreak of the emerald ash borer.
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland are under quarantine to prevent infested wood from moving out of the states.
The emerald ash borer outbreak is spreading anyway. Two discoveries were found in Ohio this week. Letters are being sent and the media is publicizing that firewood should not be transported anywhere, especially in the Midwest. Many campsites put warning messages on their confirmation letters.
Do your part this camping season and don’t bring firewood to your destination. It is more convenient and better for the trees to buy or collect firewood near your campsite instead. Check out the website for the emerald ash borer here.
DAVID TIRRELL-WYSOCKI. Campers asked to leave firewood at home. Yahoo News. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070524/ap_on_re_us/leave_firewood_home_3