If you are planning a winter camping trip to the Oregon Coast this winter for some whale watching, don’t take any firewood from the Rogue Valley.

Instead, buy it locally when you get to the coast.

The problem, explained Sam Chan, the chairman of the Oregon Invasive Species Council, is that moving firewood long distances — generally considered 50 miles or more — increases the risk of introducing new invasive species into an area that could kill native trees.

“You don’t want to take firewood into different climate zones,” he said. “We normally think of firewood as dead because it often comes from thinning dead trees from a forest, but these trees can have insects and diseases in them that can be dormant in the wood.”

The Oregon council is working with the U.S. Forest Service as well as the states of Idaho and Washington and The Nature Conservancy to educate the public about the threat of spreading invasive species by moving firewood long distances.

Although the focus in the “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign is on hauling the wood longer distances, even bringing it into a different climate zone can spread invasive species, he said.

“We’re finding that about 40 percent of campers carry their own firewood into a campground,” he said, adding, “And Oregon is the prime destination for out-of-state campers.”
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