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Don’t let your firewood become a Trojan horse

Millions of Missourians have fond memories of time spent telling stories around a campfire or just gazing into the flickering light with family and friends. The Missouri Department of Conservation urges hunters and campers to take care not to let firewood become a Trojan horse for Show-Me State forests.
Once a harmless part of hunting and camping, firewood now could contain a destructive forest pest, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). The metallic green beetles were discovered at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Greenville Recreation area at Wappapello Lake in July.
The most common way that emerald ash borers spread is by hitching a ride on firewood or nursery stock. Nursery owners and agriculture officials are working to block the nursery stock route. Hunters and campers can help by not transporting firewood between home and camping locations.
Campers who bring firewood from home risk spreading the emerald ash borer and other forest pests and diseases. Even moving firewood from one campground to another in the same neighborhood can spread destructive tree parasites and diseases. Campers who accidentally move firewood are advised to burn it immediately.
Missouri is one of ten states where emerald ash borers have been found. The others are Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Emerald ash borers are not native to the United States. They were discovered first near Detroit in 2002. Experts say the pests probably hitched a ride there in wooden packing material from Asia. The pest has decimated ash tree populations in southern Michigan.
For more information about emerald ash borers, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/firewood, or call 866-716-9974.
PHOTO: The emerald ash borer, a potentially devastating forest pest, has been discovered in Missouri. The Conservation Department urges Missourians to help prevent the borer’s spread by not transporting firewood from one area to another. (Missouri Dept. of Conservation photo)

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