Wisconsin outdoor officials warned that hauling firewood from home, instead of buying
local or certified firewood, can spread pests and invasive species, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Bringing your own firewood could "launch an infestation of emerald ash borer, gypsy moth or other destructive pests and diseases," according to a DATCP news release.
"’Buy it where you burn it’ is always good advice," said DATCP's Plant Industry Bureau director Brian Kuhn. “But you can also buy firewood certified by DATCP, and that’s safe to take anywhere in the state. It’s available at some convenience stores, state parks, and some large retail and home centers.”
Kuhn notes that state parks require that firewood be brought from no more than 10 miles away. National forests require it to be purchased within 25 miles.
Many private campgrounds prohibit bringing in firewood at all.
It is actually illegal to take firewood from a county quarantined for gypsy moth to a non-quarantined county, according to the DATCP. The only exception to these regulations is using certified firewood, which has been aged or treated to kill pests and diseases.
While the entire state of Wisconsin is now quarantined for emerald ash borer, there are still large areas where EAB has not been found.
Slowing the spread of EAB to these areas can give communities and property owners time to prepare, by treating high-value trees or planting other species, and spreading out costs over time.
But it’s not only EAB and gypsy moth that threaten Wisconsin’s forests. Oak wilt and other pests and diseases can also be spread on firewood.
"You can't just look at wood and see pests and diseases," said Kuhn. "They may be under the bark or burrowed into the wood, or they may be microscopic pathogens. In the balance of things, the health of our forests – and all the jobs and wildlife that depend on it – is worth spending a few dollars to buy firewood instead of hauling it from home."
For more information, visit datcp.wi.gov and search for "firewood."