Issue 6, May 31, 2011

Storm Damage? Friendly Reminder about Moving Firewood

The recent storms that have swept across the state have left destruction in their wake - including downed trees and limbs. I'm sure there will be lots of activity in yards across the area in the coming days. But, are you aware of the dangers associated with invasive species and moving this debris?

There are many invasive insects and diseases that are found in firewood--gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, Asian Longhorned beetle, and thousand cankers disease are just a few. While they may not move far on their own, when people move firewood and debris, they can move hundreds of miles. This aided movement can spread these pests to areas where they were not present before.

By regulating the movement of firewood and forest products, we hope to prevent and slow the spread of these insects and diseases. The presence of emerald ash borer in the state of Illinois has changed how firewood and forest products can be moved within our state. State and federal quarantines regulate the movement of invasives in commercial forest products. The federal government has quarantined the entire state of Illinois (Adobe PDF), making it illegal to move ash products (ash trees, parts of ash trees) as well as all hardwood firewood outside of the state without federal certification.

But there is also a quarantine within the state boundaries. This limits the movement of of firewood and wood products between certain counties. The state of Illinois has quarantined infested areas within the state (Adobe PDF), making it illegal to move these materials out of those infested areas. Much of the public is unaware of the current boundaries of this quarantine. Remember, these laws are not in place to make things difficult, they are in place to help preserve our trees and natural areas! It often takes several years for infestations to be recognized. Trees may appear healthy, even though they are harboring harmful pests. By not moving them great distances, the chances of spreading invasive pests decrease.

Also, if you are cleaning up fallen ash trees, take a look for signs and symptoms of the emerald ash borer (Adobe PDF). Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week is May 22-28, 2011. This invasive insect is continuing to be found in Illinois counties. Last fall, it was confirmed in Champaign County in the city of Rantoul. Adults begin emerging from ash trees at the end of May. EAB activity will soon begin in many areas of the state. Keep an eye out for these metallic green beetles that emerge from ash trees, leaving D-shaped holes.

Visit the Illinois CAPS blog for all the latest news on invasive pests in Illinois or contact Kelly Estes ( with any questions. (Kelly Estes)

Kelly Estes

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