Invasive insects, like the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, pose a threat to more than half of Vermont’s trees. The emerald ash borer was first detected near Detroit, Michigan in 2002 and has since spread east as far as New Hampshire. These insects do not travel fast on their own and their rapid spread is a direct product of human facilitated movement. It is believed that Asian longhorned beetle spread from Worcester to Boston, Massachusetts in firewood. These insects can live inside of firewood and are unknowingly transported to new locations where they will emerge as adults and start new infestations. The impacts from such infestations are devastating to the environment, economy, and society. On May 1, 2016 Vermont passed a law preventing the importation of firewood into Vermont unless it is certified as heat-treated.
UVM Extension is working in partnership with Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation (FPR); Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; Animal Health, Plant Inspection Service (AHIPS); Green Mountain National Forest; and the national Don’t Move Firewood campaign to spread awareness about the law. The on-going campaign has three target audiences: firewood dealers, private campground owners, and second home owners. UVM Extension mailed letters to 82 private campgrounds throughout Vermont with information about the law and an opportunity for each campground to request outreach material for their campers. Additionally, materials such as Frisbees, stickers, brochures, and coloring books have been sent to many of these campgrounds per their request. Vermont FPR sent letters to firewood dealers and vendors throughout the state. Additionally, posters with the “Don’t Move Firewood” message and updated information about the law have been put up at each of the 17 welcome centers in Vermont. UVM Extension partnered with the Vermont Lottery to distribute posters to 700 convenience stores throughout the state.
With emerald ash borer present in all surrounding states and Canadian provinces, it is absolutely crucial to prevent the movement of firewood into Vermont. By targeting specific audiences and helping them understand Vermont’s firewood law, the 2016 firewood campaign will help to slow the spread of invasive species. For more information, visit our partner website, www.vtinvasives.org.