PENFIELD – As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the traditional start of the summer camping season will begin as well. But, campers are reminded that moving firewood is the single biggest reason that many invasive insects are spreading throughout Pennsylvania, threatening the forests that provide such wonderful opportunities for both recreation and local economies. This is also “Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. Some of these invasive insects, such as the Emerald Ash Borer- a native to Asia found in Pennsylvania in 2007, have been spreading rapidly and have prompted the Department of Agriculture to issue a quarantine on certain wood products and on firewood. So campers should be aware of which counties have been included in the quarantine, and check often as counties could be added weekly as scientists determine where the insects are currently located. Right now, no firewood may be transported across state lines, and firewood may not be moved in/from the following 12 Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Indiana, Juniata, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Washington, and Westmoreland. For updates to the quarantine list, you may check with the Department of Agriculture at: www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Emerald Ash Borer”. In several counties, crews again this year have already begun to hang purple traps in ash trees, often seen from roadways, which are monitored all summer, removed in August, and help the Department of Agriculture determine where the Emerald Ash Borer is present.
Residents and visitors should only use local firewood, burn all firewood on-site, and not move firewood to new locations. Every Pennsylvania citizen should be doing their part to help conserve the forest resources of the state, not just those in the quarantined counties. Please contact the park office of your state park destinations and find out where you can buy local firewood. Without care and consideration of the quarantine, Pennsylvania forests could face the same destruction that has been seen by several other states, where several million trees have already died because of the Emerald Ash Borer.