Those selling, purchasing, gathering, and consuming firewood. In some parts of the country, firewood is the primary fuel for winter heating. Educated consumers can reduce the risk of spreading forest pests by selecting their supplier based on informed decisions.
Organizations that provide consumer protection and education are good partners to promote BMPs. These can include county extension agencies, soil and water conservation offices, firewood relief programs, and Weights and Measures investigators.
Opportunities to Promote BMPs
Post information on a state-specific firewood webpage. Connect with trade organizations and certifying agencies to provide information at meetings and/or their webpages. Distribute printed materials at locations where consumers purchase or service tools of the firewood trade.
- There may be existing federal, state, and local regulations about the transportation of logs or cut firewood. Consumers should be directed to state and local resources for information on where quarantines exist.
- Weights and Measures staff are often responsible for the regulation of how firewood is sold with regard to advertising, volumetric measure, and other local requirements. Consumers should know these requirements before receiving a firewood delivery.
- In some states, consumer protection offices offer seasonal advice on purchasing firewood and should have outreach information.
Pesticides: Do not use pesticides on firewood.
Example BMPs for Consumers
- Educate yourself before placing an order.
- Check state department of agriculture web pages for quarantine pests or firewood rules present in the state.
- Check the www.dontmovefirewood.org page for listing of regulations and recommendations relating to firewood in your area.
- Note if there are restrictions or recommendations relating to how far firewood can be moved in your state.
- Know the rules for how firewood may be sold in the state, by quantity, and if there are specific quality designations (i.e. green, seasoned, etc.).
- Ask your friends and neighbors about their experience with their firewood supplier.
- Ask your supplier questions prior to placing the order. Ensure that the answers are consistent with existing state rules and recommendations for pest risk. Questions could include:
- Where was this firewood harvested?
- Has this firewood been seasoned? If so, was it seasoned after it was cut and split, and for how long?
- What information can you provide about the firewood species?
- Have you used any best management practices to reduce the risk of spreading pests?
- How much firewood will you deliver at the quoted price?
- Will you leave a signed receipt?
- How did you determine the measure of firewood delivered?
- Purchasing firewood.
- Purchase heat treated firewood when available.
- Purchase firewood that has already been seasoned for at least a year.
- If you must purchase green firewood, ensure that it is locally harvested. Research has shown that 10 miles is a good threshold, but your region’s firewood markets may vary3.
- Only purchase the amount of firewood needed for one season. Try to burn all firewood from the previous year by spring/summer.
- Be present when firewood is delivered, and closely review your firewood prior to accepting the load – check for signs of active insect infestation, verify that the correct amount has been delivered, verify the terms on the receipt. Do not accept firewood that has any signs of active insect infestation.
- Storing firewood.
- Stack firewood away from living trees to further avoid potentially spreading pests and diseases from the firewood to healthy trees.
- Stack green or wet firewood with the bark facing up in areas that are exposed to the sun to promote maximum drying.
- Cover firewood in a well-ventilated area (such as in a woodshed or under a lean-to) or with a tarp or plastic sheeting during the rainy season, leaving the sides of the stack exposed to the open air to avoid locking in moisture.
- Avoid stacking firewood directly on the ground. If you are stacking it on a hard surface, such as a concrete slab, consider raising the stack on scrap stringers to assist with airflow.
- Never stack firewood indoors – in addition to being a fire hazard, insects can emerge from the wood and potentially cause harm to the structure.
- Leave a few inches of space to allow for airflow if stacking firewood against a woodshed wall or fence.
- Plan for wood to shrink as it dries, which will cause stacks to shift over time.
- Store firewood away from buildings (such as home or shed) as wood-boring pests can tunnel directly from the wood into the structure. Recommendations are typically to store firewood at a distance of at least 3 feet from storage or residential structures. Local requirements can be verified with your fire department.
- In areas prone to wildfire, it is advised to stack firewood at least 30 feet or farther from all structures, to prevent additional risk during fire season (see www.firewise.org for additional recommendations).
- Do not transport firewood for recreational purposes. This can transport pests to your favorite camping site. Instead, use firewood that is locally available at or near your destination.
1 Myers, S.W. and S.M. Bailey. 2011. Evaluation of the ISPM-15 Heat Treatment Schedule for Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) For. Prod. J. 61: 46-49.
3 Tobin, P.C., Diss-Torrance, A., Blackburn, L.M., & Brown, B.D (2010) What does “local” firewood buy you? Managing the risk of invasive species introduction. Journal of Economic Entomology 103(5): 1569-1576.
Best Management Practices
Producers, Distributors, & Vendors