Use firewood in the area where it was cut.
When you head for the lake or escape to the woods this summer, don't take firewood with you. And when you start home again, don't bring firewood back with you.
Forestry departments across the continent are begging campers and homeowners to avoid transporting firewood out of the area where it was cut. To help spread the word, the USDA Forestry Department has a poster that can be downloaded as a pdf file. (Thumbnail appears at right.)
Transporting firewood is a perfect way to carry tree diseases and pests to new places. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources points out, "Insect pests spread at a rate of about 0.5 to 2 miles per year on their own. When they are carried on firewood, their spread rate jumps to 55 miles per hour."
Here's a short list of some killer tree problems that are known to spread through firewood:
- Pine pitch canker
- Oak wilt
- Gypsy moth
- Sirex wood wasp
- Dutch elm disease
- Emerald ash borer
- Various other borers
- Sudden oak death
- Beech bark disease
- Asian longhorn beetle
- Various fungi and rots
Buy firewood that was grown as near as possible to the place where you will burn it, or better yet, look around for dry dead wood on the ground that you can burn. If you do buy firewood, don't buy more than you can burn, and be sure to burn all that you buy. And please help spread the message to others who aren't as well-informed as you are.