It looks like the Emerald Ash Borer has won. Since 2012, the tiny invasive green beetle has spread to dozens of towns, posing a deadly risk to ash trees and resulting in six counties falling under wood quarantines. Now, with winter just around the corner, the state has announced it will modify those rules to make it easier for consumers to transport firewood around the state.
The quarantines were meant to restrict the movement of infested ash firewood and slow the spread of the invasive insect. The rule was simple: if you wanted to move ash firewood out of a quarantine area, that was against the law.
Starting on Friday, December 5, it won't be, if you have the right paperwork. Deputy State Entomologist Victoria Smith said the quarantine will expand to cover all of Connecticut's eight counties. "The reason why we are expanding the quarantine is simply because we've found that eradication of this insect is not possible," she said.
Instead, Connecticut will become part of a larger "quarantine zone" extending all the way to Iowa and Missouri. In order to move ash firewood within this area (and within counties in Connecticut), Smith said all consumers will need is a certificate of origin. "It's a little form that you can get on our website that basically outlines where the wood came from, where it's destined, and what purpose it's going to be used for," Smith said.
A public hearing on the proposed change will take place Thursday, December 4, at the Middlesex County Extension.