Five northwest Ohio townships yesterday were added to the region s ever-expanding quarantine against the movement of ash products, which includes firewood, wood chips, branches, and even bark.
Various restrictions apply to areas in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana known to be infested by the deadly emerald ash borer.
The latest additions include Margaretta, Groton, Perkins, and Oxford townships in Erie County and Bridgewater Township in Williams County, the Ohio Department of Agriculture said.
They join portions of Lucas, Fulton, Henry, Wood, Sandusky, Ottawa, Auglaize, Defiance, and Hancock counties that have been under Ohio s quarantine.
In Indiana, two more counties that border Ohio Adams and Randolph have been placed under that state s quarantine, bringing the number of Indiana counties under quarantine to four.
LaGrange and Steuben counties previously were put under quarantine there.
In Michigan, the epicenter for North America s emerald ash borer outbreak, much of that state s lower peninsula has been under quarantine. The Michigan Department of Agriculture recently added portions of Chippewa County, following the first detection of emerald ash borer in the Upper Peninsula.
Officials say the quarantine and its associated penalties are emergency measures aimed at keeping humans from artificially spreading the nonnative pest.
They said quarantines are especially important with winter approaching.
As the cold season sets in, we remind and encourage citizens to abide by the quarantines, to buy local firewood, and aid in stopping this devastating pest, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey said.
Violators are subject to a broad range of penalties, depending on where they re caught, by whom, and how much wood they re moving.
In Ohio, state officials can fine up to $4,000 per violation. But in Michigan, the state legislature recently authorized fines of up to $250,000 and the potential for prison time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture can issue fines of up to $10,000 if its inspectors are involved.
The pest, which hails from Asia, was first discovered in a western Detroit suburb in 2002.