State Issues Countywide Quarantine To Fight Ash Borer

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The emerald ash borer was found in Dalton and is able to kill an ash tree in three to five years.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is restricting the movement of wood outside of the county in an effort to stop the spread of emerald ash borer.

After determining the extent of the beetle infestation in Berkshire County, DCR is implementing a quarantine on wood movement in Berkshire County beginning March 1.

The order means that certain products — including all hardwood firewood — are not allow to be shipped outside of the county unless specially treated.

However, New York has added 22 new counties to their quarantine including ones that border Massachusetts so wood would be allowed to be shipped to the quarantined areas there.

One of the invasive ash borers was found in Dalton last summer and after delimiting 26 trees since, larvae was found in five other trees. The beetle destroys ash trees and is typically spreads though the movement of wood.

"The emerald ash borer brings a very serious threat to our ash trees, and we are not taking its presence lightly," said DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert in a statement. "We believe a countywide quarantine will allow the best chance at slowing the spread of emerald ash borer."

Lambert announced the quarantine in Pittsfield on Thursday morning.

The quarantine was fought by the wood industry when state officials first presented it. Company owners said the move would be devastating to the local economy because there is no dry-kiln in the county to treat the wood and the restriction severely reduces their customer base.

Meanwhile, DCR will continue to monitor the beetle's spread with traps and girdling about 100 more ash trees.

Last summer, DCR said the quarantine would include stakeouts of logger traffic routes and inspections and those who are found transporting the wood could face heavy fines.

Tags: beetles,   emerald ash borer,   infestations,   quarantine,   

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