NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Leigh Greenwood, the Don’t Move Firewood Campaign Manager for The Nature Conservancy.
Did you know that next time you go camping, you could accidentally kill thousands of trees with just a single piece of firewood? Surprisingly, I’m not talking about the huge wildfires that increasingly threaten forests around the world. I’m talking about the little known, but incredibly dangerous, threat of firewood that is contaminated with invasive insects or diseases. These pests can hitchhike on seemingly innocent pieces of firewood, lurking deep within the bark or wood, and then escape before being used in the campfire. A new infestation is born, and millions of trees are at stake.
Does this sound farfetched? Well, unbelievably, it happens all the time. There are many examples around the USA of campgrounds, RV parks, and recreation areas that have been devastated by forest pests brought in on firewood. Pests like the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, goldspotted oak borer, and others can and do all travel on firewood. This has got to stop. The solution is so simple; don’t move firewood. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it. Maybe that’s a local firewood dealer a few miles from your campsite. Maybe you can get a permit to gather wood when you get there. Or perhaps you’ll need to buy some packaged kiln dried wood, where the high heat of the drying process has made it very unlikely to harbor insects or diseases. But don’t bring wood from your backyard with you when you go camping. And please, don’t stock up on a cord of wood for the winter from a supplier three counties over. Keep it local, and protect trees.
You can help us get the word out about this problem. Visit dontmovefirewood.org, friend us at facebook.com/dontmovefirewood. Check out some of our funny videos at youtube.com/dontmovefirewood. But most of all, do the right thing. Don’t take firewood with you when you camp, hike, hunt or fish. Tell your friends about this crazy thing you read on the Internet – that nasty invasive insects and diseases can hide in firewood for years, waiting under the bark or in the wood for just the right moment to infest another tree, kill another forest, and ruin your favorite beautiful places. Buy it where you burn it, and remember – don’t move firewood.
The Don’t Move Firewood campaign is managed by The Nature Conservancy in support of the. The Continental Dialogue is a group of organizations and individuals that work together to abate threats from invasive insects and diseases to North American forests.
Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.
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