Camping season officially opens across Oklahoma this Memorial Day weekend and thousands of people are thinking of enjoying quiet evenings near a campfire. Officials with Oklahoma Forestry Services(OFS), a division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, are urging citizens to help protect Oklahoma’s forests by taking precautions with the firewood they use.
The simple act of burning firewood close to where you buy it can save Oklahoma’s forests from serious damage. This is because of the danger of unknowingly bringing destructive foreign pests and bugs from location to location while transporting firewood long distances.
“Bringing in your own firewood seems like the smart and economical thing to do,” said Brian Hall, OFS Forest Health Specialist. “But the firewood from one area could have fungus spores or insects that could wreak havoc on the forest you are visiting.The best thing you can do is buy local firewood instead of hauling it with you to your campsite.”
Ideally,the firewood you use should be cut within a few miles of your campfire.
A few key points to help you to keep Oklahoma forests healthy and still enjoy your campfire are:
- Buy firewood near where you will burn it-- that means the wood was cut within 50 miles of where you'll have your fire
- Wood that looks clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs, or microscopic fungi spores, that will start a new and deadly infestation. Always leave it at home, even if you think the firewood looks fine.
- Aged or seasoned wood is still not safe. Just because it is dry doesn't mean that bugs can't crawl onto it.
- Tell your friends not to bring wood with them. Everyone needs to know that they should not move firewood.
If you have already moved firewood,the best action you can take is to burn it quickly and completely, making sure to rake all twigs, leaves and bark into your fire. To learn more about keeping Oklahoma’s forests healthy visit www.forestry.ok.gov.
Thu, May 24, 2012