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The Missouri Conservation Department Warns Not to Move Firewood

It’s almost Memorial Day Weekend, a time when many people pack up the tents and head to state parks and campgrounds. But the Missouri Department of Conservation is advising the public to NOT pack firewood. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky explains why…

If you’re going camping this Memorial Day Weekend, make sure you don’t take any uninvited guests along. The emerald ash borer, a small metallic green beetle, overwinters in the interior of ash wood. Cindy Garner is an urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation...

"This beetle doesn't have a lot of flight that we know of, so we know one way it's being transported is through firewood."

Garner says, unless you know where your firewood came from, it’s a good idea to purchase it when you arrive or get permission to gather it at your campsite.The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in several other states. The first and so far only infestation in Missouri was discovered last year at a campground in Wayne County.If the insect spreads in Missouri, it could do widespread damage. The Forest Service estimates there are 1 and a half million live ash trees in Greene County alone…

"If it would be found in our county, in Greene County, or even in any of the surrounding counties, it does put a quarentine, a Missouri quarentine on that county, so we wouldn't be able to move things out of the county, and that has a far reaching effect than just firewood."

If you visit state parks this summer, you might notice purple triangular contraptions high up in the treetops. Those are traps, designed to catch any emerald ash borers if they’re in the area. That will let officials know if the insect has spread.Signs warning to not move firewood will also be posted at various public places in Missouri.For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.