Don’t Move Firewood

A notice from the State of Vermont Department of Forests and Recreation
2-28-11

Don't Move FirewoodForests are great places to play, but they also keep our air clean and our water pure. We must protect them so our kids and grandkids can enjoy these amazing places like we do. One of the most important things we can do is stop moving invasive forest pests to new areas on firewood. It’s really that simple.

Vermont’s forests and shade trees are now threatened by two non-native insects, the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle. The emerald ash borer is a tree killer from Asia that has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states and two Canadian provinces. In 2008, it was discovered 30 miles from Vermont’s northern border in the Province of Quebec, and it was detected in New York State, for the first time, in 2009.

The Asian longhorned beetle, which kills maple and other hardwood trees, is currently infesting a large area around Worcester MA, within fifty miles of Vermont’s southern border. There are also active Asian longhorned beetle infestations in metropolitan areas around New York City and New Jersey.

It is hard to imagine such a seemingly simple action – moving firewood – can have enormously damaging and expensive consequences. Outbreaks of tree-killing insects and diseases are very difficult- and sometimes impossible – to control. If allowed to escape to forested areas, the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer could infest over a third of the trees in Vermont, with enormous consequences to our timber, tourism, and maple industry.

In most cases, the person moving the wood has no idea that the firewood is infested because the insects or diseases are hidden under the bark or deep in the wood. Outbreaks are often found in, or adjacent to campgrounds and parks – the result of ordinary people taking firewood on a camping trip.

During the summer months the adult stage of the insect pests and the spore producing stage of the tree diseases emerge from the wood and can easily find a maple, ash or other host tree. In as little as two years, trees can start to die in large numbers. Over 80% of new emerald ash borer infestations have been traced to firewood movement.

As a result, some states have established regulations that prohibit movement of all firewood into the state. Vermont is currently using education rather than regulation, but that could change at any time.

In the meantime, the message is simple, Don’t Move Firewood.

Your efforts can make a difference. You can help stop the spread of invasive forest pests by spreading this message. Because not moving firewood is a simple thing that anyone can understand – if they just know why it is so important.

Find out other ways you can help at www.firewood.vt.gov. Contact State of Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Rec., 5 Perry Street, Suite 20, Barre, VT 05641-4265; phone: 802-476-0178.

Key words: protect trees, don’t move firewood, don’t spread pests, firewood, pests

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