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WI DNR Hopes to Stop Hitchhiking Bugs

June 1, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Today the state implements new rules aimed at stopping the emerald ash borer in its tracks. Those new rules mandate that people can only bring firewood onto state managed property if it has been state-certified or is from within 25 miles away.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest health specialist Andrea Diss-Torrance says firewood is like high-speed rail for these tree-killing pests.

"We can buy time if we don't move them around ourselves. They move very rapidly on firewood; that has been a huge problem in its habitat expansion."

Diss-Torrance says invasive species already have killed millions of trees in Wisconsin. Wood from vendors certified by the state is exempted from the new rules because that timber is specially treated to kill pests that may be hitching a ride.

Diss-Torrance says the new firewood rules will help keep the state's forests healthier by limiting a number of pests.

"It's not just emerald ash borer. Seven or eight pests and diseases that are not native to Wisconsin have been moving around on firewood and really doing quite a lot of damage here."

Starting today, the DNR will have maps illustrating a 25-mile radius from Wisconsin state campgrounds in state parks and forests.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI