It’s really that simple: don't move firewood, and keep trees healthy and alive.
Oregon has new firewood regulation and rules to protect the state from insects and pests that hitchhike on firewood. The law makes it illegal to import or transport firewood within Oregon unless that wood is sourced from Oregon, Washington, or Idaho, or unless the wood has been heat treated according to standards described by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Photo credits: Oak Splendor Beetle - Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org; Emerald Ash Borer - David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org; Sudden Oak Death - Bruce Moltzan, Missouri Department of Conservation, Bugwood.Org; Oak Borer (The title for this species should actually read “Goldspotted Oakborer” - Mike Lewis, Center for Invasive Species Research, Bugwood.org; Ambrosia Beetle - J.R. Baker & S.B. Bambara, North Carolina State University, Bugwood.org; Gypsy Moth – Washington State Department of Agriculture; Asian Longhorned Beetle – Washington State Department of Agriculture; Plum Pox potyvirus - European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization Archive, Bugwood.org; European Nun Moth – Hannes Lemme, Bugwood.org; European Spruce Beetle - Daniel Adam, Office National des Forets, Bugwood.org; Sirex woodwasp - David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org, Imported Fire Ant - USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org; Japanese Beetle - Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org
Our special thanks to the Washington Invasive Species Council for sharing this photo gallery.
1. Why should I be cautious about moving firewood? Firewood can carry invasive insects and diseases that can kill native trees. New infestations of these insects and diseases can destroy our forests, lessen property values, and cost a great deal to monitor, manage, and control.
2. Why are non-native insects and diseases so much worse than the native ones?
Native trees have evolved to survive with local insects and diseases. Likewise, native predators eat native insects and that keeps their numbers in check (environmental balance). Non-native insects and diseases have few (if any) predators, and the native trees have few natural defenses against them. Invasive insects and diseases reproduce quickly and outcompete native species. 3. What are other states and regions in the United States doing about this issue?
Some Midwest and East Coast states have quarantines that prevent you from moving firewood more than 50 miles, others don’t allow you to move wood from county to county, and some states don’t allow firewood to be transported from other states. 4. My firewood has no visible signs of insect or disease infestation. There are no bugs, holes, burrows, or sawdust. Is it OK to transport it?
Tiny insect eggs, or microscopic fungus spores, can elude experts. These tiny threats are enough to destroy an entire ecosystem. Never assume wood that looks safe is safe to move. 5. How far is too far?
A good rule of thumb is "The "shorter the distance you move firewood, the better. 6. How should I dispose of my firewood if I accidentally move it a long distance?
Burn it quickly and completely. The sooner and faster you burn the wood, the less risk you’ll pose to local live trees. Make sure to also rake up any dropped leaves, bark, twigs or other debris and burn them, as well (Note: Please check burning restrictions/regulations before burning wood waste). 7. What can I do with the fallen wood and brush from my property?
Firewood, brush, and debris from your property pose no threat if you don't move it very far. Composting, chipping, burning, or transporting it to a local disposal facility are acceptable ways of dealing with wood waste on your property. Moving firewood material long distances increases the risk.
8. Where can I find out about firewood information in the Pacific Northwest? Check out: dontmovefirewood.org
9. What else can I do?
Ask your firewood seller the source of the wood. If it isn’t nearby, or its origin is unknown, consider obtaining your firewood from another local firewood seller.