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SDDA Recommends Obtaining In-State Firewood
South Dakota Ag Connection - 09/12/2017

Following confirmation of emerald ash borer near the state, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture is reminding residents and visitors to obtain firewood from in-state sources.

Emerald ash borer was recently confirmed near Welcome, Minnesota, and Alta, Iowa, placing the insect within 80 miles of South Dakota. The borer was introduced from Asia into Michigan in the late 1990s and is responsible for the death of more than 50 million ash trees in the U.S.

At this time, no emerald ash borer infested trees have been identified in South Dakota or in any adjacent county of a bordering state.

The spread from Michigan to 29 other states has primarily been through movement of firewood cut from infested trees.

"This is a good time to remind people to obtain firewood from sources within the state," says Greg Josten, state forester with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA). "The most likely way this insect will arrive in South Dakota is through importing infested firewood. Some homeowners are obtaining firewood from Minnesota and Iowa. This could easily result in the beetle being moved into the state undetected."

SDDA advises that any wood held over the winter could lead to an infestation in South Dakota in the spring. SDDA recommends obtaining firewood locally to prevent emerald ash borer and other forest insect pests from being transported into and around the state.

Dr. John Ball, an SDDA forest health specialist said, "Firewood isn't only going to campgrounds. When emerald ash borer is found in a residential neighborhood, it's usually because a homeowner brought wood in from an infested area for home fireplace use."

States that have emerald ash borer have imposed quarantines on infested areas. Federal law makes it illegal to move any regulated items from quarantined zones without a state or federal inspection certificate or a stamp certifying compliance of proper treatment, such as a heat treatment.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota's economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect and preserve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit SDDA online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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