Forest Protection, Firewood Rule Remains In Effect

With camping season under way, Basil Seggos, state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, is reminding campers that the state firewood transportation regulation is still in effect.

Untreated firewood may contain invasive pests that kill trees, and to protect New York’s forests, untreated firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from its source of origin.

“Using local firewood is a simple act that everyone can do to help protect our forests from invasive insects and diseases,” Seggos said. “Moving untreated firewood that could be contaminated is one of the main ways that invasive pests are spread to new areas. To help stop the spread, I urge all campers to leave untreated firewood at home and use firewood from local sources.”

Homeowners should not move firewood from trees that died on their property for use while camping. By moving untreated firewood, invasive pests are able to hitch rides to new areas, spreading faster and farther than pests could have on their own. A variety of invasive species can be transported on firewood, from wood boring beetles and defoliators to fungi and diseases.

The New York State firewood regulation:

¯ Prohibits untreated firewood from being brought into New York from other areas;

¯ Prohibits untreated firewood grown in the state from being transported more than 50 miles from its source of origin; and

¯ When transporting firewood, documentation of the source, origin, or treatment is required.

The origin of the wood is where it was grown. Anyone that cuts firewood for personal use is required to fill out a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin available on DEC’s website. Producers of untreated firewood for sale must obtain wood grown within 50 miles of their business but may then declare the business as the source of the firewood. Examples of the source documentation are also available on DEC’s website. Consumers purchasing untreated firewood should make sure the source is clearly labeled to know how far the wood may be transported.

Firewood that meets the state’s heat treatment standard (160 degrees F core temperature for 75 minutes) and is labeled “New York-Approved Heat Treated/Pest Free,” can be moved without restriction. Heat-treating to this standard has been proven to kill insects and diseases that may be in firewood. Kiln-dried only means the wood was heated to dry it out so it will burn well, but it may not have reached 160 degrees F for 75 minutes. Purchasers of heat-treated firewood are encouraged to look for the appropriate label indicating the wood meets the standard.

Quarantines for individual invasive species, such as oak wilt and the Asian longhorned beetle, may further restrict the transport of firewood in specific areas. As quarantines are lifted, expanded or tightened, the firewood regulation will continue to remain in place. For more information on Firewood and Invasive Insects, email foresthealth@dec.ny.gov.

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