In the past ten years research has shown firewood to be a major pathway for the long distance movement of forest pests across the United States. The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands has conducted many surveys and research projects and found over 40% of the out-of-state campers were bringing firewood from home. Transporting firewood from California, New York, Florida and other distant locations was common. Out-of-State firewood the Division has confiscated and studied has averaged 35 insects per stick of wood. Additionally the breadth of species has been amazing. Species from the smallest flies to the largest longhorn beetles have been found in firewood.
Today all but five states have restrictions on the movement of out-of-state firewood or advocate limiting the movement. As of July, 2011 New Hampshire has banned the import of untreated firewood unless you meet the requirements for compliance agreements.
Protect New Hampshire’s Forests: Buy it where you burn it
Emerald ash borer (EAB) and other damaging insects move far greater distance by human-assisted transport than the insects move on their own. One of the most common paths of movement is in firewood.
The state of New Hampshire recommends that you consider the potential impacts of moving firewood and that you practice safe firewood transportation behaviors, including:
- Use locally-sourced firewood—buy it where you burn it.
- Separate ash firewood and use it within 5 miles of its location of harvest OR season on-site for at least a year before transporting it.
- Only transport the firewood that you will use in a single visit or home-heating season. Remaining firewood gives pest insects a greater opportunity to emerge and infest an area.
Humans move damaging insects far greater distances than insects move on their own. One of the most common means of movement is in firewood. The State of New Hampshire implemented a firewood quarantine in 2011 to prevent the arrival of damaging insects by prohibiting uncertified firewood from entering the state.
Commercial operations wanting to transport firewood from outside of New Hampshire should contact the Forest Health Program at 603-464-3016 for a compliance agreement. Compliance agreements may be issued to transporters bringing firewood to a heat-treatment kiln, or similar facility, capable of mitigating the pest risks associated with transporting and storing firewood. Firewood originating in New Hampshire but transported out-of-state for processing may be eligible for a compliance agreement to move the material back into New Hampshire if origin can be documented, and identity and security of New Hampshire-origin firewood is maintained in the processing yard.
All firewood of out-of-state origin is prohibited from the State of New Hampshire unless it is labeled as certified heat-treated to 140°F (60°C) for 60 minutes. Untreated out-of-state firewood may only be moved into New Hampshire under compliance agreement and to a certified heat-treatment kiln or similar facility that will mitigate the pest risk associated with the transportation and storage of the firewood. Firewood originating in New Hampshire but transported out-of-state for processing may be eligible for a compliance agreement to move the material back into New Hampshire if origin can be documented, and identity and security of New Hampshire-origin firewood is maintained in the processing yard.
Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and many other states have restrictions on moving firewood. Federal restrictions may apply depending on origin of firewood. For more information, visit www.dontmovefirewood.org.
Recommendations for firewood movement within New Hampshire
- Use locally-sourced firewood—buy it where you burn it!
- Buy or gather firewood near your destination, and only what you will use on your trip.
- When you buy firewood locally, get a receipt.
- Burn all firewood to completion before you leave; don't take it to your next destination or leave it for the next person.
- Tell your friends about the risks of traveling with firewood– no one wants to be responsible for starting a new pest infestation.