- Firewood is widely recognized as a major source of new infestations of tree-killing non-native forest pests such as the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer.
- Vermont currently has no regulations restricting the movement or requiring the treatment of firewood. Some destinations, including New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Quebec do have regulations in place. Keeping green and air-dried firewood local, or heat-treating wood that will be moved long distances, are the only practical ways to prevent new pest infestations.
- When the Asian longhorned beetle or the emerald ash borer are discovered in Vermont, state and/or federal quarantines will be established that will restrict untreated firewood from being moved out of a quarantine area. It is generally accepted that the emerald ash borer will be found in Vermont within the next few years.
Here’s what you, as a firewood producer/retailer, can do now to prevent the spread of these dangerous pests and better prepare your business for future quarantines:
- Never assume untreated firewood is safe to move. Firewood produced in an area not known to harbor forest pests of concern should be handled with the same care used for firewood from known infested areas.
- Be proactive by following firewood “Best Management Practices” that will help to keep pests out and prepare your business to better weather any future regulations. The recommendations below will provide certainty that you are producing and distributing your firewood in a responsible manner:
- BMP#1: Harvest or purchase your firewood logs from the local area. Selling your wood within 50 miles of its source is considered “local firewood”. A 50 mile radius around your wood source is a very large area to sell firewood. Most smaller producers already work within this “safe” zone due to the poor economics of moving wood long distances.
- BMP#2: Learn how to recognize, in the wood, the signs and symptoms of the major pests and look for these signs as you handle the logs and firewood. Report any suspicious evidence or observations to your local office of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.
- BMP#3: Let your customers know that you are aware and concerned about these pests and that you carry only preferred “local wood”. It’s good for business! Educate your customers so they will be less likely to transport firewood to their favorite campground or seasonal home. Ask us for free brochures you can provide to your customers.
If your firewood market extends beyond the local area, consider investing in a kiln. This will increase the value of your product and assure that the wood is pest free. The Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets will work with you to certify your operation as meeting the minimum heating standards that ensure all pests are killed. You can use this certification in your marketing.
Plan ahead! If you want to expand to or keep your long distance customers when firewood regulations arrive, the only way you will be able to move firewood out of a quarantine area is if the wood is heat treated.
For more information contact:
Jay Lackey, Firewood Program Coordinator
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
802-476-0178 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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