Wisconsin DNR tightens firewood rules to slow wood pests travel

New rules enacted by the Wisconsin Natural Resources for firewood movement onto state lands is will better reduce the risk of introduction of invasive pests and diseases.

"Firewood is the primary way many tree-killing invasive pests and diseases are being moved long distances," said Andrea Diss-Torrance, Department of Natural Resources forest health specialist. "By getting firewood near where you will use it or using certified firewood, everyone can do their part to prevent spread of these pests."

When pests and diseases that can move long distances in firewood become established near or in Wisconsin, the risk of them accidentally reaching our state lands on wood allowed onto state properties increases Firewood regulations have been gradually tightened in past years in response to new information and increasing risk from invasive pests and diseases, such as emerald ash borer, oak wilt and Asian longhorned beetle. This latest restriction will keep the level of risk of long distance introduction of invasive pests to Wisconsin state lands at a lower level.

The changes supported by the board are:

  • reduce the distance from which visitors may bring in firewood from the current 25 miles to 10 miles; and
  • remove the prohibition on out-of-state wood as long as the wood was cut from within 10 miles of the destination state property.

These changes will take effect for the 2014 camping season.

Wood certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as being treated to kill infesting organisms would continue to be accepted onto any state property regardless of the distance of origin.

"As this change is part of a gradual process increasing caution to meet an increasing risk, we anticipate that it will affect only a small number of firewood vendors," says DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "State campground managers are also working to ensure supplies of good, reasonably priced firewood are available from vendors at or near campgrounds."

Homeowners, forest-landowners and others who value Wisconsin forests and the trees in their communities are encouraged to follow the prudent example set by state properties and get their firewood locally or buy certified firewood to prevent accidental introduction of invasive pests and diseases. For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "firewood."