States should consider their potential enforcement approaches as this can be challenging and enforcement capacities vary widely between states. Some enforcement strategies may be effective with commercial transporters, but not for movement of recreational firewood, requiring help from other state agencies. The effectiveness of the quarantine will be enhanced when penalties and enforcement are transparent. Firewood quarantines can be integrated into states with plant inspection stations, but will need more consideration for states without stations. The State Regulations include several state exterior firewood quarantines.
Case Study: Maine
Maine has an emergency order that is administered by the Maine Forest Service (MFS) within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Maine Forest Service provides forest rangers who enforce state forestry laws, including the firewood emergency order. Most enforcement occurs during events scheduled by the MFS, Division of Forest Health, visits to campgrounds, and inquiries from the public. Events usually occur at public rest areas on the New Hampshire- Maine border and are scheduled to coincide with national holidays including Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. These are the times when people are coming to Maine to open or close summer cottages, or to visit campgrounds throughout the state from early summer through the fall. Rangers also spend the summer season randomly visiting campgrounds, focusing on campers with out-of-state plates. The MFS also has a link and a phone number allowing the forest rangers to respond to reported concerns about out of state firewood.
Case Study: New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s quarantine is shared between the Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ forestry laws provide authorities for any law enforcement agency in the state to enforce forestry laws, including the firewood quarantine. While other law enforcement agencies are involved in enforcement of the firewood quarantine, the primary entity involved in planning enforcement events and issuing warnings and summonses is the NH Division of Forests and Lands, Forest Rangers.
The NH Forest Rangers have enforced the state’s firewood quarantine on both commercial transporters of firewood and those moving firewood recreationally. While individual Rangers may stop vehicles with out-of-state plates moving firewood, and conduct campground inspections, the biggest impacts have been with scheduled firewood checkpoints. These have included checkpoints during high traffic weekends (like Memorial Day or Labor Day), as well as during the NASCAR races at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), which are the largest camping events in the state. The NHMS has been a critical partner in these events. These events have required substantial planning to ensure enforcement of individual violations while minimizing the impacts to traffic flow. Multiple agency partners, both state and federal, have participated in this effort. Firewood has been intercepted from as far away as Florida and the Pacific Northwest. There have been several interceptions from EAB quarantine areas, but none from ALB quarantine areas. The enforcement events, as required by state statute, are publicized ahead of time. The NHMS has placed information about firewood onto their website and in their mailings. Year after year of continued enforcement has seen a reduction in the number of individuals bringing firewood into the state. Firewood collected during the checkpoint is burned on-site at a monitored location.
Considerations for planning a firewood checkpoint include:
- Is a court petition required for the checkpoint? (For checkpoints along public roads, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office requires a petition be brought before the Superior Court for approval.)
- How much staff will be needed and is there authorization for their time and potential overtime for the event?
- Will other agencies be involved, like DOT, local police departments, and property jurisdiction and access like the NHMS or the USFS for events that occur in the White Mountain National Forest?
- What can partners contribute? Will there be subject matter experts that can provide identification of insects or insect damage?
- Will there be a facility for staff to process violations and take breaks throughout the event (i.e. a command trailer)?
- What safety equipment will be necessary for those staffing the events?
- What are the confiscation documentation requirements for the violation to have legal standing (i.e. paperwork, photography, etc.)?
- What signage will be required?
- How will the public be notified?
- What permissions are necessary to conduct the event?
- Will there be an outreach component (e.g. brochure) for occupants of all stopped vehicles, regardless of firewood found?
- Will the firewood be confiscated as part of the event?
- If confiscated, how will it be transported and destroyed?
- Are permits needed for destruction of confiscated firewood?
- Will firewood vouchers for replacement firewood be provided, and if so what is the available budget?
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