New Pest in Northland Forces Quarantine

Posted at: 08/16/2013 4:13 PM | Updated at: 08/16/2013 5:28 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Michael Koppy says he always thought the closest the emerald ash borer would ever get to his home was St. Paul.

"To have it all of a sudden in our back door was kind of a shock," said Koppy.

Now that it has been identified in Superior, Douglas County is under quarantine, meaning no ash firewood can leave the county. The close proximity has officials in Duluth on high alert and warning the public.

"Usually where it jumps the border, like the St. Louis River, it's because someone hauled ash firewood, which is great firewood, across not knowing it was infected with the beetle," said Kelly Fleissner, Maintenance Operations Manager with the City of Duluth

Chopping and delivering firewood is what Koppy does in retirement. He delivers to about 25 clients in Superior, Cloquet, and Duluth. But the emerald ash borer is threatening his operation. His 90 cords of wood are a combination of aspen and ash.

"It's all mixed in there and for me to separate the ash would be virtually impossible at this point," said Koppy.

He is in Hermantown so Koppy is under no restrictions yet, but he says if the pest crosses into St. Louis County, he will have lots of wood sitting on his land.

"It would be pretty tough, I have 75 to 100 cords of this stuff all mixed and ready to go," said Koppy.

Officials say emerald ash borers cannot fly very far, so transporting firewood is an easy way for them to spread.

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