When It Comes To Firewood, Buy It Where You Burn It

Oklahoma Forestry Services is asking Oklahomans to buy firewood near the location where they will burn it to help prevent the spread of insects and diseases that can kill trees and devastate recreation spots.

OFS joins other states and national agencies in the effort to educate the public about the dangers of moving firewood. Many people are unaware that insects and diseases can live in healthy-looking firewood and that by moving firewood they are also transporting invasive pests. The “Promise Not to Move Firewood” campaign is focused on asking people to make a conscious decision not to move firewood and, instead, to buy wood cut as close as possible to the location where they will burn it.

“Normally, insects can’t travel far, but when you haul firewood from one location to another, the insects that live inside the firewood are transported, sometimes hundreds of miles, and impact trees in the new location,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “In some parts of the country, entire forests have been lost due to firewood movement, and we want to prevent that in Oklahoma.”

One pest of particular concern for Oklahoma is the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees across the nation, and has now infested trees in Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. With a significant ash population, Oklahoma is at risk for an invasion of the insect, primarily through the movement of firewood into the state by campers and hunters.

How can you help? Use these key points to help keep Oklahoma trees and forests healthy:
· Make the promise NOT to move firewood.
· Buy firewood that was cut near where you will burn it-- that means the wood was cut within 50 miles of where you will burn it. Whether buying firewood for camping or burning at home, always buy locally.
· 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.

Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, is committed to conserving, enhancing and protecting the forest resources of Oklahoma for present and future generations. To learn more about keeping Oklahoma’s forests healthy, visit http://www.forestry.ok.gov.