Burn it where you buy it

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

by Elaine Lidholm

Whether for home heating or a campfire, always buy firewood close to where you will burn it. Tree-killing invasive insects and diseases can lurk inside and on the surface of firewood. While these insects and diseases don’t travel far on their own, transporting firewood allows them to move hundreds of miles and start infestations in new places.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says that tree pest infestations can invade and kill trees within our communities, parks and forest. Infestations can be costly to control or eradicate, so help stop the spread of damaging forest pests by following these suggestions:

1. Buy firewood near where you’ll burn it

2. Buy certified heat treated firewood (look for a state or federal seal)

3. Gather firewood on site when permitted

People who use wood to heat their homes should harvest firewood locally or purchase firewood from a reputable dealer who is in compliance with state or regional firewood regulations. Some firewood providers may be unaware of quarantine and movement restrictions, resulting in the unintentional and illegal movement of tree-killing pests.

Carrying firewood from one area to another can spread forest pests and may also violate state and federal laws, depending on the region. Anyone traveling from one location to another should not carry firewood to their destination unless it is heat-treated and certified. Plan to gather firewood on site if permitted or purchase firewood near your camping destination.

If you suspect that you have an invasive pest in your area, contact VDACS’ at 804-786-3515 or your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Service agent at ext.vt.edu/offices.html.

More information on invasive plants, pests and diseases can be found on USDA’s Hungry Pests website at hungrypests.com.

ELAINE LIDHOLM is the spokeswoman for VDACS. Contact her at 804-786-7686 or elaine.lidholm@vdac.virginia.gov.