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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: May 22, 2009
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

DEM: CAMPERS AND OTHER VACATIONERS SHOULD USE ONLY LOCAL FIREWOOD TO PREVENT IMPORT OF INVASIVE WOOD-BORING INSECTS

PROVIDENCE - As campers and other vacationers prepare for their upcoming holidays, the Department of Environmental Management is urging them to refrain from transporting firewood to and from other areas, and to use, instead, only local firewood at their campsites and summer cottages.

Tree-eating, non-native, insects can be transported in firewood, with the potential to cause damage costing millions of dollars in clean-up, eradication, and replanting efforts. In fact, the issue of invasive species is one of the US Forest Service's top four threats. The financial impact from invasive species infestations in the United States has been estimated at $138 billion per year in total economic damages and associated control costs.

There are many species of insects and diseases that can be spread through the movement of firewood, including emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, (ALB),and Sirex woodwasps, none of which are currently found in Rhode Island. Last fall, DEM removed and destroyed a half cord of firewood suspected of carrying ALB larva from a home in Cranston. The homeowners received the wood from property they own with a friend in Worcester, MA that had ALB infested trees on site. One piece of wood from a maple tree showed evidence of ALB, with one suspected larva that DEM staff have preserved for identification. Emerald ash borer, first detected in North America near Detroit in 2002, has since killed more than 25 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. More than 75 percent of Emerald ash borer infestation sites with known origins were the result of firewood movement.

Rhode Islanders should be aware that they can carry local infestations of Gypsy moth eggs and Hemlock woolly adelgid in their own firewood, and should not transport it elsewhere. When potentially infested firewood is moved, any pests that emerge can seriously threaten the trees in the new community. You cannot tell just by looking at it whether or not a log is infested. Insects and diseases can be in or underneath the bark of infested logs, as well as on it.

PLEASE BUY AND BURN FIREWOOD LOCALLY

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