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Emerald Ash Borer found in Marathon County prompts firewood precaution

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Firewood restrictions are now in place for Marathon County, after a tree care service found trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer on private property in Rib Mountain.

That means taking hardwood firewood out of Marathon County is illegal. EAB, along with other invasive species, hitchhike on firewood, making their way easily into previously unaffected, healthy areas and spreading harmful pests.

The infected trees were discovered on a property along the Wisconsin River, and specimens were identified Oct. 10 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Officials blame the spread of EAB largely on human activity and say the firewood quarantine is crucial to slow the spread of the infestation.

“It’s important for people not to move firewood out of infested areas, even within their own quarantined counties,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau with the DATCP. “That precaution can delay introduction to new areas of quarantined counties for years.”

Currently, this means hardwood firewood that has been stored, purchased, or harvested in the following areas may not be moved out of these areas in Wisconsin: Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sawyer, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood counties. A federal quarantine also prohibits the movement of hardwood firewood out of all or parts of more than a dozen other states and parts of Canada.

This map shows the most current national and international quarantines.

Anyone found violating a firewood quarantine could be fined up to $1,000.

Kuhn recommends that property owners in quarantined counties:
  • Watch ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation: Thinning in the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark, and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
  • Consider preventive treatments if their property is within 15 miles of a known infestation. Whether to treat depends on several factors: the age of the trees, the size of the trees, and the number of trees. Treatment costs vary depending on size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional.
  • Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
  • Contact a professional arborist for expert advice, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.
Emerald ash borer is native to China and probably entered the United States on packing material, showing up first in Michigan in 2002. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 in Washington County.

 

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