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Emerald Ash Borer, Thousand Cankers Disease continues to spread

10:40 PM, Sep 13, 2011   |    comments
Thousand Cankers Disease continues to spread
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Claiborne County resident Eddie Rowe has his firewood stockpile ready for a good bonfire this fall. But unlike years past, there will be some changes the next time he stocks up on lumber.

The Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that kills ash trees, was found in the county this earlier this year by Rowe.

"We found it when we were mowing hay. Noticed some of the trees on the tree line, noticed the leaves on top were smaller than usual," said Rowe.

Claiborne County is one of five counties in East Tennessee to have this infestation; this list includes Knox, Loudon, Grainger and Blount Counties.

A separate, but equal problem of Thousand Cankers Disease, also introduced to the area at the same time as Emerald Ash Borer, has been found in six counties so far: Knox, Loudon, Anderson, Blount, Union and Sevier Counties. The fungus carried by beetles, kills walnut trees.

Both are problems that aren't going away, officials add.

"We do not have a means to eradicate either of these insects and diseased pests. So we're trying to control the spread," said Ted Dailey with the Division of Forestry.

So far the efforts to control the problems with creating federal and state quarantines have not slowed down the diseases' progression.

"Primarily what we're trying to get a handle on is not allowed to move anything that's got the bark on it," said Steve Roark with the local Division of Forestry.

Campaigns, like "Promise Tennessee" have been around for almost a year, reminding people not to take firewood outside counties that already have an infestation.

However, forestry officials say people may not be listening.

"Emphasizing... and telling folks don't move firewood," Roark added.

Now, with Claiborne County on the list of areas that cannot move firewood outside county limits, residents like Eddie Rowe say this new rule is something residents need to remember.

"Going to be a fact that some of the species of wood, like the ash, will be harder to come by," Rowe said.

For Thousand Cankers Disease, the state has also named any county bordering a quarantined county with the fungus to be in a "buffer area." Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, and Scott Counties can move firewood within the buffer area only and can also be moved into a quarantine county.

However, firewood cannot be taken back out of the restricted area.

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