The Washington Department of Ecology recently awarded Okanogan County $85,000 to help purchase a new wood chipper as well as steam treatment equipment.  Ecology’s Andrew Wineke said the chipper will offer those living in Okanogan County a better option than burning slash when getting rid of a tree or limbs.  He said that will help reduce smoke especially during the wildfire season.  Wineke noted the steam treatment equipment will help prevent the spread of apple maggot.


“Steaming them, getting it hot enough to cook those little critters if any are present is the approved method by the Washington state Department of Agriculture.  So, the apple maggot is a serious concern, we understand that, we want to protect our apple industry, so coming up with this approach to dealing with wood waste is a neat step forward and will hopefully make everyone’s lives easier.”


In November, the western half of Okanogan County was added to the quarantine area, meaning apple maggot may be present in the Winthrop and Twisp areas, while Omak is in the pest free area.  Okanogan County plans to hold its first chipping event with the new equipment later this year.


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