As the holiday weekend gets under way, the DNR is warning campers about a deadly bug.
Officials at the Department of Natural Resources remind holiday travelers not to give free rides to a certain type of hitch-hiker — the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer.
“Where insects of this kind would move very slowly — or spread very slowly — on their own because they’re not incredibly strong flyers, they can move great distances very quickly on loads of firewood and other forest products in vehicles.”
DNR spokesman Bob Manwell says campers should not transport firewood more than 50 miles; instead you can buy the stuff locally in order to help slow the spread of the tree-killing insect. Manwell says officials are not seeking to punish people, and there’s been great compliance with the policy.
“I think most people are genuinely interested in trying to help us with this effort because they realize the value the forests are to them especially our state parks and forests, and really want to keep them healthy.”
So, Manwell says, buy only what you’ll need, because you cannot take home the leftover firewood.
The deadly bug came to the US from eastern Asia in 2002, and was first discovered in Wisconsin in August of 2008 near the Village of Newburg in Ozaukee County. In April of this year the beetle was found in Vernon County.
Wisconsin has an estimated 770 million ash trees that could be at risk from the Emerald Ash Borer. Over 5 million ash trees are located in urban areas.