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Officials Start Process To Lift Quarantine Amid Ash Borer Concerns

Susan Greenhouse
California Department of Fish and Game
An emerald ash borer beetle found in firewood.

Colorado Forest experts confirmed they found the emerald ash borer in Westminster. This case is the second time the tree-killing beetle has been found outside of quarantine in Boulder County. The first confirmation was last month in Broomfield.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture established Boulder County as a federal quarantine area in 2013 to slow the beetle’s spread by containing affected ash trees or firewood.

Tom Wells, a forester with the city and county of Broomfield, said he encouraged residents to get their trees inspected.

“I always felt that it was somewhere in Broomfield for a while. It’s just a very hard insect to find,” Wells said.

Experts say it’s unknown whether the insect arrived naturally or through human transportation. Despite the remaining uncertainty, officials say there are enough measures in place to help slow the spread of the beetle in Colorado without the quarantine.

The repeal will allow already-affected communities more options for the disposal of removed trees. Westminster Forestry staff recommend that ash tree owners in the city consider having their trees chemically treated next spring, when treatments are most effective.

Infected trees usually lose leaves at the top of the canopy and the die-off spreads downward. The trees usually die within four years.

The Associated Press and KUNC's Matt Bloom contributed to this report.

Editor's note: The headline in this story was corrected to reflect that the quarantine has not been lifted yet. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has started the process of repealing the quarantine.

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