by Amy Stone, Lucas County
Firewood has long been a heating source for many homes and memorable camping trips with family and friends. Unfortunately, today’s firewood can harbor insects and pathogens, both native and non-native. The non-native, invasive exotics — especially — can be harmful to the environment, often resulting in the death of the host plants. Transporting infested or infected firewood can result in a dramatically more rapid spread of these harmful pests, and can also be a violation of quarantines put in place by the United States Department of Agriculture and/or the Ohio Department of Agriculture to reduce the artificial spread while protecting our state’s and country’s natural resources.
When the emerald ash borer (EAB) arrived on the North American scene, people began hearing the message “Buy Local, Burn Local.” This campaign raised awareness about the potential of spreading invasive species and the importance and value of protecting our environment by not moving firewood. But long before the green menace (aka – EAB) began killing ash trees, the threat of gypsy moth enacted a quarantine within the state of Ohio.
Currently 51 counties in Ohio are regulated under the Gypsy Moth Quarantine. The counties include: Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Portage, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, and Wood.
Regulated articles included in the gypsy moth quarantine include: trees and woody shrubs, including cut Xmas trees; logs, pulpwood, slab-wood, and wood-bark chips; outdoor household articles, including: tables, benches, chairs, doghouses, birdhouses, and feeders, planters, utility sheds, grills, garden equipment, children’s playthings, such as playhouses and sandboxes: recreational vehicles, boats, trailers, tents, associated equipment, and FIREWOOD. In this case, ALL FIREWOOD is regulated, not just non-coniferous or non-evergreen firewood like in the case of EAB.
So, while the EAB Quarantine was expanded in September 2010 to include all 88 Ohio counties, the Gypsy Moth Quarantine is still in place and restricts the movement of all regulated items including ALL FIREWOOD from a quarantined county into a non-quarantined county. It is important to know and abide by state and federal quarantines that have been established to protect Ohio’s landscapes and forests, the take home message should be buy firewood where you plan to use.
If you have questions about the quarantines, check out the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/ Additionally, you can contact ODA by calling 888-OHIO-EAB.
The take home message when it comes to firewood – Buy Local, Burn Local! An actual release will follow soon. Thanks for help spreading the word and hopefully everyone has a better understanding of the two different quarantines.