Ottawa residents heading out on camping trips or to the cottage are being reminded to leave firewood at home for the long weekend.

The area is under a ministerial order prohibiting the movement of firewood in and out of the city, due to the threat of the emerald ash borer (EAB).

Over the winter, the city had to remove around 200 EAB infested trees in areas near Ogilvie Road and Alta Vista Road, David Barkley, forestry services program manager for the city of Ottawa, said yesterday.

However, moving wood around the city or province could cause a catastrophic loss of ash trees in eastern Ontario.

Around one-quarter of the trees lining Ottawa streets are at risk from the pest. In wooded areas further south of the city, ash trees make up around 40 per cent of the forest.

“We’re talking about losing a large portion of our forest cover in eastern Ontario,” said Barkley.

While mature EAB bugs feed on leaves from the tree, its larva lives under the bark and feeds on wood.

“Essentially, it works its way around and eventually girdles the whole tree so that the tree slowly dies,” said Barkley.

Trees infested with EAB respond by sprouting branches at the base of the tree below the larva infested areas. The pest lays thousands of eggs at a time, which means the speed they are killing the trees increases significantly with each generation.

“In the first couple of years, you don’t really see it in the tree, but as the population explodes, it declines quickly to a point where it kills the tree,” said Barkley.