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Firms will need to sign agreements to follow practices for safe handling, transportation and storage to minimize the spread of the moths, she said. Logging trucks won’t need to be inspected, she said, but they’ll need paperwork to prove that shippers and receivers are following proper procedures.
Selling firewood to other counties is a big business, said Dryke, and the state is still working with federal officials to determine the best ways to allow that to happen while minimizing risks.
Homeowners, campers and others who live in or visit the quarantine area will need to inspect outdoor household articles such as vehicles, boats, camping equipment and patio furniture, Dryke said, before moving those items to other counties.
Hunt said there’s no question that uncontrolled spread of gypsy moths will devastate thousands of acres of forested land.
Minnesota is not anywhere close to that stage, said Dryke, even where the pests are most numerous in the northeastern counties. It may be several more years before people see much damage in those counties, he said.
“A quarantine isn’t going to stop the natural spread, and it won’t be 100 percent effective in stopping human-assisted spread,” Dryke said. “But it’s a tool that will help slow down the spread, and that’s a good thing.”
Time is important, he said, since scientists are working on new ways to control the moths biologically.
The quarantine proposal will be open for public comment for 30 days beginning Monday, including two public hearings at county commission meetings in Two Harbors on Feb. 11 and in Grand Marais on Feb. 25.
The quarantine is scheduled to go into effect on March 31.
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388