An infestation of the emerald ash borer beetle has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to impose certain restrictions on firewood at locations in South Arkansas.
The Arkansas State Plant Board and the United States Department of Agriculture is combatting the impact of the EAB, an invasive beetle that is highly destructive to ash trees. Twenty-five South Arkansas counties are under quarantine for the movement of firewood.
The USFWS said Monday that effective immediately, firewood will no longer be allowed to be imported on any National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas until further notice. The three refuges within the quarantine zone (Felsenthal, Overflow, and Pond Creek) will also suspend firewood cutting permits for home heating purposes.
For the refuges that allow camping, the following conditions apply:
-- Individuals may collect downed trees/logs/limbs no more than 100 feet from roads and trails open to motorized vehicles
-- It is prohibited to damage standing trees and/ or habitat.
-- On public roads all debris must be removed from the road, shoulders, and ditches.
-- All vehicles including ATV/UTVs must remain on designated roads or trails.
-- All refuge regulations apply and will be strictly enforced.
“First and foremost, it is our priority to protect our forests and wildlife resources from such threats,” said Michael Stroeh, project leader of the South Arkansas Refuges Complex, “Cooperative efforts from both the state and federal levels to prohibit imported firewood and quarantine unaffected areas of the state is crucial at such time.”