Friday, January 16, 2009

Firewood: Burn It Where You Buy It

Take a cue from Maryland....

ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 13, 2009) – The Maryland Invasive Species Council has chosen firewood as the January 2009 Invader of the Month. In Maryland, it is illegal to move hardwood firewood out of Prince George’s or Charles counties because of the risk of spreading the emerald ash borer, a devastating insect pest. It is important for residents to stop moving firewood and to help inform others about why they should too.

All types of firewood can transport invasive plant pests and diseases. In the Midwest, the emerald ash borer is responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees. Long before it was identified as the culprit, people unknowingly carried the emerald ash borer to uninfested areas on firewood and other ash wood products.

Gypsy moths, oak wilt, Dutch elm disease, sirex wood wasp, and the Asian longhorned beetle are among the many insects and diseases that can travel on firewood and devastate previously uninfested forests. Firewood that looks normal might still be infested with these and other forest pests and diseases.

State and federal agencies have implemented regulations to address a number of known pest pathways such as firewood. As an example, quarantines in emerald ash borer-infested states (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) help to prevent potentially infested ash products from moving out of infested areas.

In Kentucky, officials do not allow out-of-state firewood to be brought into campgrounds at state parks. Minnesota requires that all firewood sold or distributed across state boundaries or more than 100 miles from its origin be labeled with point of harvest. New York has an aggressive emergency regulation restricting the importation and movement of firewood. Pennsylvania has banned the importation of out-of-state firewood unless it is kiln-dried or USDA certified. In Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources has a policy prohibiting campers and other visitors from bringing outside firewood onto all DNR-owned or -managed properties.

Although regulations are necessary and helpful, the most effective tools are outreach, education, and the simple act of letting friends, neighbors, colleagues and family know. Help protect our natural resources by following this simple firewood recommendation and encouraging others to do the same: Buy firewood when you reach your destination and burn it all on site – “Buy it Where You Burn It.” In many places it’s the law. Everywhere else, it’s the right thing to do.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture


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