Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The devastating Emerald Ash Borer is closing in on Central New York and the state DEC is expanding its quarantine area to include areas south of the Thruway.
The agency is trying to curb the spread of the destructive insects by asking people to burn their firewood in the same place it came from this spring.
“Our ash tree made our backyard a really nice place to be, said Jessi Lyons of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
But Lyons had to take it down because of the tree’s age. Now, much of the tree sits in a pile next to Lyons’ home – and that’s where it should stay, according to the DEC.
“We assume that it’s probably in the area, we don't know that it is, so there is some reason why we might want to expand the quarantine into these areas. It also helps us to fast track preparedness,” Lyons said.
The new quarantine specifically applies to ash trees, they don't want you moving that firewood around into non-quarantined areas because of the Emerald Ash Borer, but really this goes for any kind of firewood that may have its own kind of invasive species.
The message is very simple, burn it where you buy it.
"We are the primary source of transport of insects into new areas. We are kind of the invasive species because we're the ones making it spread to another area and most people just take that for granted,” Lyons said.
Lyons said the expanded quarantine is one way to stay out in front of the impending insect invasion and manage it.
It also gives municipalities a reason to develop a plan to handle the problems once the trees do become infected.
The quarantine goes into effect on May 1.
The DEC does make stops and checkpoints on roads to campgrounds and popular recreational areas to make sure wood isn’t being taken from quarantined areas into areas that aren’t subject to the quarantine.
Those who are caught will face a fine.