An invasive beetle that is blamed for killing thousands of oak trees in San Diego and Riverside counties has made it to Orange County, and boy are his arms tired.
Tired might also describe Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) officials who are losing sleep over the thought of thousands of dead trees, because dead trees increase the likelihood and severity of wildfires.
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Agrilus coxalis (a.k.a. the Gold Spotted Oak Borer) has been doing a number on tens of thousands of trees in the portions of Cleveland National Forest in Riverside and San Diego counties. Now, says the OCFA, they have been detected in about 60 trees in North County park land.
It is believed they got here through oak firewood that was brought into Orange County, so the OCFA is warning against acquiring firewood that is not locally sourced or taking lumber out of the area. If you visit an OC campground, you are asked to leave your firewood at home and only "buy it where you burn it."
"The public plays a key role in stopping the spread of the (Gold Spotted Oak Borer),'' Todd Spitzer, the Orange County Board of Supervisors chairman who sits on the OCFA board, told City News Service. "When choosing firewood, make sure you buy it from a local source and not from out of the area. This infestation could have devastating effects on Orange County and all of California and we all must work to stop its spread."