State officials launch ‘Don’t Move Firewood’ pledge to prevent spread of invasive species
PIERRE, S.D. — As many people head out to enjoy the outdoors over Memorial Day weekend, state officials are reminding travelers not to transport untreated firewood around the state.
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture is teaming up with Game, Fish and Parks to launch a ‘Don’t Move Firewood’ pledge. The pledge is designed to prevent non-native insects and diseases from impacting local ecosystems — with particular focus on the emerald ash borer.
Everyone that takes the pledge will be entered in to win a camping set, which includes a tent, sleeping bags and outdoor cooking equipment.
Firewood can carry invasive tree-killing insects and diseases, and moving it to different areas allows them to spread. Instead, only local firewood should be used, or firewood that’s been certified heat-treated.
Officials are especially concerned about the emerald ash borer, an insect that was introduced from Asia and is destroying ash trees across the eastern U.S. and Canada. It was first discovered in South Dakota in northern Sioux Falls in May of 2018. Its presence has expanded rapidly through the transportation of infested firewood.
South Dakota is heavily dependent on ash trees to prevent erosion and protect bodies of water from pollutants and runoff — particularly from farm and livestock operations. The trees also create important habitats for wildlife.
Experts say the Emerald Ash Borer’s economic impact on communities and landowners across the state could be devastating.
In general, damage by non-native insects and diseases to trees across the nation is causing millions of dollars of damage in communities and forests.
South Dakotans that take the ‘Don’t Move Firewood’ pledge by June 30 will be entered to win the camping set. Take the pledge by going to: https://sdda.sd.gov/Firewood/Pledge.aspx.
For more information on emerald ash borer in South Dakota, go to http://emeraldashborerinsouthdakota.sd.gov/.