Delaware State Parks Firewood Ban Expanded
LEWES, Del. - The Spotted Lanternfly has yet to be seen in Sussex County, but Delaware State Parks is expanding its firewood ban to help keep it away. The agency says it previously enacted a voluntary firewood ban as a means to control the spread of invasive insects from other states that can cause harm to forest trees.
The agency tells WRDE that the emergence of the Spotted Lanternfly in northern Delaware resulted in the Department of Agriculture issuing an emergency quarantine order for northern New Castle County. "In response to this order, Delaware State Parks expanded the firewood ban to prohibit campers from transporting firewood from outside of the local area into campgrounds as a means to control the spread of this destructive insect."
Marty Wojcik of Wilmington isn't too concerned as he plans to grill for much of his camping trip in the Cape Henlopen State Park. He says that if he does use the fire pit on the campsite, he'll buy the permitted wood from the Campground Store.
"The reason being is it's you're not supposed to bring it in," he says. "You're bringing foreign insects into the park."
Delaware State Parks says that one of the insect's specific targets is trees and that's why campers in the Cape Henlopen State Park can help by buying their firewood on site or from a locally known and permitted source to keep the species from spreading to southern Delaware.
Leon Bonberger of Pennsylvania has seen the fly firsthand and understands how easily it can be transported.
"If they're in Pennsylvania they're in the woods," he says. "If I bring firewood from Pennsylvania to Delaware, I would only be spreading the firewood to this location."
The agency says the ban will continue as long as the threat from destructive invasive insects exists and that Natural Resources Police generally will not issue a citation to a camper with wood from outside of the area. If it's noticed by an officer, they will educate the camper on risks.