Those planning to camp at an Indiana state park, state recreation area or state forest for Labor Day weekend or at any other time should be aware that there are restrictions on the firewood these properties allow through their gates. The reason is to help slow the spread of the invasive insect emerald ash borer.
Known as EAB for short, this exotic species of beetle has killed more than 20 million ash trees in the Midwest. On its own, EAB can advance about a half-mile to one mile per year. A problem arises when people unknowingly move infested ash wood to new areas, spreading the insect much faster and farther than it can move on its own.
EAB has been found in 19 Indiana counties, including Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Floyd, Hamilton, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marion, Noble, Porter, Randolph, St. Joseph, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, White and Whitley.
Visitors entering state property campgrounds are asked at the gate if they have brought any firewood from quarantined counties in Indiana listed above, or from any federally quarantined states, including all of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. The only hardwood firewood that can be brought into state properties is (1) from non-quarantined Indiana counties, (2) scrap kiln-dried lumber with no bark attached to it, and (3) that which was purchased at a commercial store and that has a USDA compliance stamp.
The recent discovery of EAB in Floyd County brings the impact of this insect sharply into focus for southern Indiana.
"Before the emerald ash borer was found in Floyd County, all of the discoveries in the Hoosier state had been north of Indianapolis," said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. "Most folks from northern Indiana who camp have grown accustomed to our firewood policy. Campers from Floyd County need to know that they are now part of this quarantine, and they need to leave their hardwood firewood at home."
Firewood brought to properties from quarantined Indiana counties or quarantined states that do not meet the above conditions will be confiscated at the gate and burned as soon as possible. Confiscation and burning the firewood quickly eliminates the possibility that any adult EABs in the wood emerge and start a new infestation.
Campers should also be aware of the source of any firewood they purchase to use when camping at non-state properties. Many private campgrounds also restrict firewood brought in to their properties.
Travelers headed out of state from any county in Indiana cannot, under federal law, take hardwood firewood out of the state. Similarly, federal law prohibits travelers from moving hardwood firewood out of Ohio, Illinois or Michigan.
For tips on protecting forests when camping, go to dontmovefirewood.org. More information about EAB, including quarantines and identification materials, can be found online at entm.purdue.edu/eab or by calling (866) NO-EXOTIC (663-9684). Questions regarding EAB should be directed to Purdue University entomologist Jodie Ellis at (765) 494-0822, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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