May 22, 2022

Michigan Department of Agriculture Reminder: Do Not Move Firewood

This October, support Firewood Month by choosing to buy firewood where you burn it to prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases. As natural resource managers across the state work to limit tree loss to oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid and other destructive invaders, you can do your part by doing safe choices for firewood.

Invasive species, those that are not native and cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health, are often transported to new places by human means. Most tree pests and diseases reach new destinations in contaminated plant material or infested wood products, including firewood.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved with firewood. Some are already present in Michigan, while others, including Asian long-horned beetle, beech leaf disease and spotted lanternfly, are infesting neighboring states.

Recreational grounds in Michigan are showing the effects of invasive tree pests and diseases. For example, PJ Hoffmaster State Park has lost more than 1,000 trees to wilting oaks, turning once shady campsites and healthy wildlife areas into barren open spaces.

“Michigan’s beautiful fall foliage, recreational spaces, timber, and landscape trees are under threat from invasive tree pests and diseases,” said Susannah Iott, MDARD’s Invasive Species Program Specialist. “Infestations can destroy forests, reduce property values ​​and cost huge sums of money to control.”

Harmful invasive species can be invisible to the naked eye and can hide in or on firewood. Although most cannot travel too far on their own, these pests and diseases can be carried undetected on firewood, triggering new infestations hundreds of miles away.

“The best way to protect forests and landscape trees is to use locally sourced firewood or wood certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as heat-treated to kill pests and disease,” said Iott. “It takes the guesswork out of determining whether the wood is infested with insects or infected with disease.

Hunters, anglers, RV owners and anyone who loves fall recreation can protect their favorite wildlife destinations, themselves and future generations by preventing the spread of forest pests on wood of heating.

Make the simple choice to leave firewood at home and use one of these alternatives:

  • Buy firewood where you will burn it.
  • Buy certified heat-treated firewood.
  • Pick up firewood on site when permitted.

Hundreds of Michigan firewood vendors are listed on FirewoodScout.org, making it easy to locate firewood distributors near your destination. The site also provides information on quarantines, rules and regulations to help you with your firewood choices.

Are you out of state? It is important to know that transporting firewood may violate state and federal laws depending on the region. More information, including a map of firewood rules, regulations and recommendations for US states and Canada, can be found at Don’tMoveFirewood.org.