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For Release: Friday, July 28, 2023

DEC Updates Oak Wilt Emergency Orders for Ontario and Yates Counties

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced changes to oak wilt emergency orders in Yates and Ontario counties to reflect recent surveys for this invasive fungal disease. Emergency orders establish protective zones and quarantine districts around infections and prohibit the movement of oak and firewood out of the infected areas to help manage the spread of the fungus that causes the disease.

Oak wilt is an invasive fungal disease that blocks the flow of water and nutrients from the tree roots to the crown, causing the leaves to wilt and fall off, usually killing the tree. Oak wilt is spread above ground by beetles and below ground through tree roots. For more information on oak wilt, visit DEC's website.

Emergency orders are updated to include new detections and remove locations no longer showing signs of the disease. Through aerial and ground inspections, DEC Division of Lands and Forests staff confirmed additional areas of oak wilt in the town of Bristol, Ontario County, and the town of Italy, Yates County. Emergency Orders remain in effect in the towns of Bristol, South Bristol, Middlesex, and Italy in DEC's Region 8.

For more than six years, oak wilt was not detected in the town of Canandaigua, Ontario County; DEC is repealing the Emergency Order in place in that area.

DEC recommends avoiding pruning or wounding oak trees in the spring and summer (April - August) when spore mats are present and beetles are the most active. If an oak wound occurs, it should be sealed immediately with latex paint. This will deter beetles from landing in those areas, reducing the risk of oak wilt spreading.

Oak trees support more organisms than any other native North American tree. Oak trees provide food and protection to a variety of wildlife, from birds to bears, as well as numerous insects.

Prevention and early detection are critical to combating the spread of oak wilt. DEC will conduct aerial surveillance throughout the region during July. Property owners will be contacted if oak wilt is suspected on their property.

DEC encourages anyone that suspects oak wilt in DEC Region 8 to contact Brice June, Supervising Forester, Division of Lands and Forest, at (585) 226-5330 or Additional information about oak wilt can be found on the DEC oak wilt website.

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