Got Firewood? You May Get a Visit From the Forestry Department

How you can help prevent the death of hundreds of trees in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. — Knock knock, the firewood inspector may be coming to your door soon.

Fargo forestry workers are looking for potentially disease carrying logs in firewood stacks.

In 2016, about 400 American elm trees in Fargo were destroyed by the Dutch elm disease.

“People that store firewood, they harbor those bugs,” said Fargo certified arborist,¬†Scott English. “They colonize and then they lay eggs under the bark.”

Throughout March, forestry workers are going home to home, asking people to get rid of their American elm logs to stop the Elm Bark Beetle, a carrier of the disease.

Scott English says homeowners can tell what type of firewood is American elm based on the bark.

“It gets dark, light, dark, light,” describes English. “They call it kind of like an Oreo cookie effect. We’ll paint the logs with orange paint, leave a slip for the homeowner, let them know what we’re doing. Then we’ll check back, pick up the logs. If they put them up on the boulevard, they help us out too.”

He says the American elm logs are okay to use if you trim off the bark.

“What they haven’t burned, we’re going to encourage them to burn it soon, in ten days,” said English. “If they haven’t, then we’re going to take it. City ordinance, you can’t harbor any elm logs that are dead. The American elm, it’s the state tree in North Dakota. People love their trees.”

The City of Fargo’s forestry department is open to help answer questions about this disease.

For now, Scott encourages anyone with firewood to stay alert, and keep an eye on the bark.

To learn more about how you can prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease, click here.

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