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The Scoop

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State parks have new rules for firewood

Emerald ash borer

Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana DNR:

Gov. Mitch Daniels declared May 20-26 as Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week in Indiana, reminding Hoosiers to protect their forests from this devastating bug by not moving firewood.

With the approach of Memorial Day weekend, the camping season in Indiana will switch into high gear. Campers at state parks, reservoirs, forests and state fish & wildlife areas need to be aware that DNR has a new firewood rule for its properties. Under the rule, in-state visitors can bring firewood from home as long as the bark has been removed. Visitors may also bring firewood if it is kiln-dried scrap lumber or bears a state or federal compliance stamp.

Campers are encouraged to buy firewood close to where they will burn it, and to burn it completely before leaving.

EAB kills every ash tree not treated with insecticides. It has already destroyed ash trees in 51 Indiana counties. In some parts of the state, tree death has reached crisis levels. For example, Fort Wayne expects to lose 3,000 ash trees next year, and its remaining 14,000 ash trees within three years. Indianapolis has more than 20,000 trees on its streets. Standing dead trees must be removed to protect public safety and access to utilities. Most Hoosier cities and local governments have tight budgets and the cost of removing trees is high. For many cities, even the less expensive option of protecting trees with insecticides is out of their reach.

Purdue University’s Neighbors Against Bad Bugs program (NABB) helps neighborhood associations identify and locate their ash trees and provides information on management. NABB manager Annemarie Nagle said homeowners can’t rely on someone else to worry about EAB.

“Ash awareness is a big component of EAB awareness, because then people understand what they’ll lose if they do nothing,” Nagle said. “Neighborhoods who organize before EAB kills their trees end up saving money, and they have a say in preserving the tree cover.”

More information on NABB and EAB in Indiana can be found at Purdue’s EAB website, eabindiana.info.

The state EAB quarantine, which outlaws movement of any ash materials out of quarantined areas, has been recently expanded to include 79 of Indiana’s 92 counties. The updated quarantine map can be found on DNR’s Entomology & Plant Pathology EAB page at dnr.IN.gov/entomolo/3443.htm. Suspected EAB infestations outside of the quarantine boundaries should be reported to DNR’s toll-free Invasive Species Hotline, 1-866-NO-EXOTIC.

Whether packing the car for a family vacation or working hard at home over the holiday weekend, Hoosiers should be smart about firewood movement and do their part to protect Indiana’s forests.

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