Posts Tagged ‘firewood’

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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The next time you’re planning a camping trip, the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon want you to think about protecting your favorite outdoor haunts by not moving firewood. The Buy It Where You Burn It campaign encourages people to obtain their firewood in a place as close as possible to the place where it will be burned.

Firewood is a high-risk vector for wood-boring insects such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, two species responsible for widespread defoliation of forests in Midwest and Eastern states. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho teamed up to spread the word about the potential dangers of transporting firewood carrying live invasive insects and diseases using grant funding from the 2010 Farm Bill. The campaign launched in full force July 15.

The tri-state $481,000 campaign includes billboards and radio spots, firewood exchange programs, biodegradable flying discs and playing cards with “Don’t Move Firewood” messages, and pre- and post-awareness surveys conducted by Oregon State University to determine the effectiveness of outreach.

The Oregon Invasive Species Council (OISC) led the development of a grant to launch an outreach and education campaign with Washington and Idaho to inform the public about the many insect and fungal invasive species and diseases that can be spread by moving untreated firewood.

“Just about anyone that goes camping or spends time outdoors enjoys a campfire,” said OISC Chair Sam Chan. “But we need the public’s ass istance to buy and burn firewood locally, not transport firewood beyond local distances, or use heat-treated firewood. Otherwise, the potential exists to introduce species like the emerald ash borer and wood boring insects that have decimated forests in the Eastern United States and threaten millions of forested acres in the West. We recognize that invasive species don’t acknowledge state lines, therefore, we asked Idaho and Washington to partner with us in this campaign to protect the Pacific Northwest.”

People have traditionally moved firewood to favorite camp spots and even new homes without recognizing the threat posed by firewood as a pathway for the movement of invasive species.

What are individual states doing to lessen the threat caused by insects and diseases in firewood? Some states have placed restrictions on out-of-state firewood unless it has been heat treated, while other states discourage people from moving firewood within the state — buy local and burn local. Outreach programs have been launched in most states, and a national website,, provides excellent information on not moving firewood.

“Hopefully, when people plan their next trip, whether it be camping, hunting, fishing, or moving their residence, they’ll make the right choice for Oregon and leave their firewood behind, and then buy and burn local or heat-treated firewood,” said Chan. “This is one invasive species issue where literally everyone can make a difference.”

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