A public meeting about the arrival of the highly destructive Goldspotted oak borer takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Town Hall.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform residents, land and homeowners, about the potential for damage to Hill oaks and property this beetle could cause. It has already killed 90,000 oaks in San Diego County and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Presenters at the meeting are key scientists, professional responders and policy makers. At present there is no spray or treatment that can arrest the advance of this pest once it arrives in an area. Scientists believe it was transported to Idyllwild in firewood from infested parts of San Diego County. Because there is no current treatment or natural predator for the beetle, meeting organizers will appeal to residents for help in identifying infested trees. Once infested, trees should be removed so that further area contamination does not occur.

And since the availability of professional responders and scientists to identify infected trees is limited, citizen observers and reporters are vitally important.

This meeting is important for any who own property that hosts oak trees. At this point, education of the public about transporting firewood and identifying beetle-infested trees is the only weapon in the arsenal to tamp further the oak borer’s spread.Were the beetle to reach urban residential areas with large stands of ornamental oak such as Pasadena, costs of tree removal and decimation of property values could reach into the billions of dollars. Unchecked, the Goldspotted oak borer has the potential to move up the Pacific Coast to Oregon and Washington.

Check your post office mailboxes for mailers about the meeting.