Driving with firewood? Not so fast

Photo by Flickr user Marion Doss. Published under Creative Commons license.

With emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle threatening to spread destruction across New York State's forests, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is getting serious about enforcing a statewide ban on transporting firewood.

For the last two years, DEC regulations have made it a ticketable offense to transport untreated firewood more than 50 miles within New York State. But the message apparently isn't getting across. Dan Ladd, columnist for the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, writes:

But people still aren't getting it. So DEC is setting up roadblocks for firewood checks. To them it is no longer a public awareness issue. They are writing tickets and taking away firewood from the culprits. The firewood is chipped up on the spot, which supposedly prevents the emerald ash borer larva from spreading.

Ladd says the DEC needs to do a better PR job downstate, where the risk of infection from Asian longhorned beetle is worst:

I think if they're not doing so already the state really needs to target its awareness toward downstate visitors. A big deal was made about one of the tickets recently issued, but those people were from the North Country. The real problem is firewood potentially coming from downstate and other areas where invasive insects have been discovered. Along with the rest of the media campaigns, perhaps some roadside billboard signs would help. Just a thought.

Last week, an emerald ash borer was found for the first time on the West Point campus in Orange County.