Attention, campers: Transporting firewood can spread invasive insects
Leave your firewood home this summer and buy it when you get to N.H.
ransporting firewood can spread invasive insects. The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands is reminding campus to source their firewood local to their camping destination. (Photo by Hadley Barndollar/New Hampshire Bulletin)
The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands is telling campers to leave firewood at home this summer, and instead be sure to purchase it locally when arriving at their destination.
Buying local firewood is one of the easiest ways to keep the state’s forests healthy. Why? Because firewood transport is a leading cause of invasive insect spread.
Studies by the Division of Forests and Lands have shown that untreated campfire food averages 35 insects in each stick. At one point, surveys indicated that 40 percent of out-of-state campers were bringing firewood from home, including California, New York, and Florida.
Transporting firewood from one region to another increases the chances that “hitchhiking” insects could spread and pose risks to forest health in places they haven’t been present before. As a result, all out-of-state firewood is prohibited in New Hampshire unless it has been labeled as certified heat-treated for 60 minutes at 140 degrees.
“Firewood is a major vector of new pests spreading to healthy forests,” said Kyle Lombard, program director for the NHDFL’s Forest Health Program, in a statement. “Harmful species from the smallest flies to the largest longhorn beetles can be found in firewood.”
Extra precautions should be taken for ash firewood because of the emerald ash borer, a beetle native to northeastern Asia that destroys ash trees. The beetle was first found in New Hampshire in 2013, and in 2019, the number of towns experiencing infestations had risen to 81.
The emerald ash borer kills ash trees within three to five years of infestation.
The state is encouraging campers to “buy it where you burn it” – purchasing firewood that has been harvested and gathered locally to their camping destination. Most New Hampshire state parks sell wood that has been kiln dried, eliminating all pests.
To find a local provider of firewood, visit firewoodscout.org.
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