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Firewood and Invasive Insects

Don't Move Firewood - You Could be Killing Our Trees!

Firewood Alert - "Don't Move Firewood"

A regulation is in effect that prohibits the import of firewood into New York unless it has been heat treated to kill pests. The regulation also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source. Quarantines exist which further restrict firewood transportation.

By transporting firewood, you could be spreading diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Help Stop the Spread and obey the Firewood Regulation:

  • It is best to leave all firewood at home - please do not bring it to campgrounds or parks.
  • Get your firewood at the campground or from a local vendor - ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.
  • If you choose to transport firewood within New York State:
    • It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood's source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source.
    • For firewood not purchased (i.e. cut from your own property) you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin (PDF, 14.5 KB), and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.
    • Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source. Acceptable firewood heat treatment must raise the core temperature of the firewood to 71 degrees C, or 160 degrees F, and hold it there for at least 75 minutes. Most "kiln-drying" processes that reduce the moisture content to less than 18% achieve this sterilization standard.
    • For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions for Firewood Regulation. For additional questions regarding this regulation, please call this toll-free number: 1-866-640-0652 or e-mail: firewood@dec.ny.gov
Insects Found in Nearly 50% of Retail Firewood - See the link to this article under Links Leaving DEC's Website in the right column.

don't move firewood poster
click on the above poster
for a larger image
New York's forests are under attack from numerous invasive exotic insect pests. In years past, we have been hit with Chestnut blight, European gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease and Beech bark disease, all with devastating results. Recently, we have discovered Asian long-horned beetles, Hemlock wooly adelgids, Pine shoot beetles and Sirex woodwasps infesting New York's urban and rural forests and killing thousands of trees. Other, potentially devastating insect invaders such as Emerald ash borer and Asian gypsy moth loom just over the horizon.

ash tree killed by invasive insects
Invasive insects transported on firewood are killing
trees in our favorite campgrounds

One common way many of these insect pests are moved around the country - beyond their natural rate of spread based on biology and flight potential - is on firewood carried by campers, hunters and other users of our forests. This firewood may come from trees killed by insect pests and taken down wherever the visitors came from. The users are frequently not even aware they are moving eggs or larvae of these pests, which may be hidden on or under the bark or buried deep within the logs. A casual observation of boaters and campers checking in at any campground will reveal trunk loads or boatloads of firewood being brought in, often from far distant states.Once transported to new locations, eggs may hatch, or larvae may mature and emerge to attack host trees in and around the camping areas. Too often, these new infestations are not detected until numerous trees start to die, and the infestation has spread beyond our ability to eradicate it or control it effectively.

A vehicle transporting fire wood.
Vehicle transporting firewood which may contain
tree-killing insects

In the Lake States, the exotic, invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) has caused great destruction of all native species of ash trees (which are also common across New York). In Detroit alone, over 70,000 city trees have been lost. This pest has also spread throughout Michigan, and into Ontario, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In numerous occasions, this pest has shown up far removed from previous known infestations, in "outlier" occurrences, at or near campgrounds and forest recreation areas. New York State is now less than 150 miles from the nearest EAB infestations.

Federal emerald ash borer quarantine regulations restrict the movement of ash wood and trees from regulated states (IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, NY, OH, PA, VA, WI, WV), in an attempt to limit the spread of this one pest.

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was first confirmed in New York State in 1996. Areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties are also under Federal quarantine which prohibits the movement of firewood and wood products of all hardwood species out of these regulated areas.

In addition, several other states and the province of Ontario, have bans or regulations in place concerning the importation or movement of firewood, of any species, as a means to prevent introduction or limit spread of any of the insect pests known to live in or on cut firewood. In addition, many States and Federal agencies, including United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and USDA Forest Service, have begun extensive outreach and public education campaigns to explain the dangers posed to forests from the movement of firewood, and encourage recreational users to "not move firewood." Many of these States and Federal agencies have found it necessary to take stronger measures to protect forest resources and have imposed bans on firewood movement.


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