May 24, 2019

Don't transport firewood in South Dakota - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Don't transport firewood in South Dakota

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:34 pm

Campers across South Dakota should leave firewood at home when they visit state parks and other campsites across the Mount Rushmore State. By doing so, they can assist efforts to ward off the spread of invasive insects and parasites such as the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer has devastated ash tree populations across the United States, and the Asian pest was found in the Sioux Falls area last year. The discovery led state officials to declare a firewood-quarantine area for all of Minnehaha County and parts of northeastern Turner and northern Lincoln counties.

Officials with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department have inserted a "firewood alert" among the information in the departments webpage for camping in South Dakota. GF&P officials are trying to protect state parks, including Lake Herman State Park near Madison, from the destructive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in at least 32 states.

Accompanying the firewood restrictions in state parks, the staff at Prairie Village, located west of Madison, has instructed campers staying at the site's campgrounds not to bring their firewood into the historic-preservation site. Faron Wahl, Prairie Village's manager, said staff members are following the recommendations on transporting firewood that are approved by the state Department of Agriculture.

Prairie Village does sell some firewood, when available, at its gift shop. In addition, firewood that has received treatment and is marked as such is allowed at Prairie Village campsites.

To help slow the spread of the emerald ash borer into state parks, South Dakota GF&P officials advise:

-- Not to bring wood that found within the Sioux Falls quarantine area into any South Dakota state park unless it has a label affixed to the wood certifying it as emerald ash borer-treated and safe to move.

-- In parks located within the quarantine area, outside firewood must have a label affixed to it certifying the firewood as emerald ash borer-treated and safe to move.

-- Firewood is available for purchase in the parks or from local stores outside the quarantine area.

-- If campers purchase firewood from a state park within the quarantine area, they should not remove it from the park.

-- Smooth dimensional lumber scraps are acceptable for burning if they are sized to fit within the campsite's firegrate.

However, wood containing nails, screws, or hardware -- including rough and pallet lumber -- should not be transported into any state park for use as firewood.

Don't Move Firewood pledge

On Monday, officials with the S.D. Department of Agriculture -- supported by GF&P officials -- launched a Don't Move Firewood pledge program to encourage support and advocacy for protecting natural resources by not moving untreated firewood.

To help incentivize efforts by everyone to not move firewood, all South Dakotans that take the pledge before midnight CDT on June 30 can enter "The Perfect Camping Set" contest in which the prize includes a tent, sleeping bags, and outdoor cooking equipment. Residents can take the pledge by going online to: https://sdda.sd.gov/Firewood/Pledge.aspx.

Non-native insects and diseases are killing important parts of ecosystems and causing millions of dollars of damage to communities and forests across the United States. The destructive insects and diseases have difficulties moving far distances on their own. However, when people move firewood, the pests can jump hundreds of miles.

For more information on the emerald ash borer in South Dakota, individuals can go online to http://emeraldashborerinsouthdakota.sd.gov/.

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