Public urged to gather and buy local firewood
BISMARCK – As Firewood Awareness Month draws to a close and with cooler temperatures and increases in firewood consumption, it is important for the public to understand the potential dangers of moving firewood.
“Those coming into the state should not carry firewood with them, unless it has been heat-treated and certified,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “With many of our neighboring states under quarantine for invasive pests, it is more important than ever to prevent them from coming here.”
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Forest Service strongly advise that firewood should be bought and used locally to prevent the spread of pests both within the state, and to prevent pests from accidentally entering the state. Many states in the Great Plains region near North Dakota have areas under quarantine for pests such as emerald ash borer (EAB), gypsy moth, and Asian longhorned beetle, and it is illegal to move any regulated items (most firewood is considered a regulated item) from quarantined zones out of those states and into North Dakota.
These pests either defoliate or bore under the bark of trees, damaging or killing them. North Dakota has more than 400,000 acres of community forests and almost 2 million acres of upland forests, riparian forests and rural tree plantings.
State Forester Larry Kotchman urges citizens to take an active role in preventing new forest pests from entering North Dakota. “Please gather or buy your firewood from local sources, and if you are coming from out of state, please don’t bring firewood with you,” he said. “Forest pests can be moved long distances in firewood.”
Moving uncertified firewood out of the areas under quarantine for these pests is a federal offense. Nearby states with quarantines for these pests include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Michigan.