Now that the 2010 camping season has started, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds campers that only firewood purchased at a state park or from a DNR-approved vendor may be brought onto any DNR-administered lands. This is to prevent the spread of forest pests, such as emerald ash borer (EAB), which can catch a ride to new locations.
For a list of approved firewood vendors, visit DNR website. The receipt supplied by the approved vendor must be retained as proof of purchase.
Visitors bringing unapproved firewood onto DNR-administered lands, including wood brought from home, must surrender it and may be subject to a $100 fine.
Susan Burks, DNR's Exotic Species Program coordinator, adds that Minnesotans should take the following steps to keep EAB and other forest pests from spreading:
Leave extra firewood onsite and don't bring it home.
Never buy or move firewood that came from outside of Minnesota.
Those camping on state forest land outside of a designated campground may gather dead wood on the ground for campfire use onsite. In state parks and designated campgrounds in state forests, visitors are prohibited from scavenging dead wood.
EAB in Minnesota
In 2009 EAB was found in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul. This year it was found in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis and the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Area of Houston County.
As a result, hardwood firewood, ash trees and ash products in Hennepin, Houston and Ramsey counties are quarantined. Firewood originating from a quarantined county in Minnesota will be approved only for use in that county. Firewood from counties contiguous to quarantined counties in Minnesota will be approved only for use in those counties.
To slow the spread of EAB, the quarantine also prohibits the movement of the following items out of quarantined counties and counties contiguous to a quarantined county:
Firewood from hardwood (non-coniferous) species.
Entire ash trees.
Ash limbs and branches.
Ash logs or untreated ash lumber with bark attached.
Uncomposted ash chips and uncomposted ash bark chips greater than one inch in two of the three dimensions.
Minnesotans should not buy firewood from people selling it door-to-door unless they are certain of the wood's origin.Details on the quarantine can be found online.
While EAB spreads slowly on its own, it can hitch a ride to new areas when people transport firewood or other wood products infested with the larvae.
EAB in an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and cutting off the tree's supply of water and nutrients. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed more than 50 million ash trees in 14 states, Quebec and Ontario, Canada.
"Minnesota is a prime target for EAB with more than 900 million ash trees," Burks said.
"Remember, the best firewood is local firewood. Help stop the movement of forest pests."