Those cutting firewood for personal use, which encompasses a wide range of activities. This can include people who use family woodlots to harvest firewood for their use, or use by friends and family members. It can also include firewood that is “gifted” to friends and family members following tree care activities.
Tree care professionals working with homeowners can be important partners in distributing BMPs to their customers. Additionally, consider working with county extension agencies, timberland owners’ associations, low income heating assistance programs, and tree farms. In some areas, charity organizations such as churches maintain “wood banks” for neighbors in need, and reaching out to the managers of these social programs would be advised if they are present in your area.
Opportunities to promote BMPs
Include BMPs on each state-specific firewood webpage and distribute printed materials at locations where consumers go to purchase firewood or firewood-related materials.
Risk Management: Suggested BMPs are not effective replacements for heat treatment. Use of BMPs can reduce, but not eliminate the risk of insects or pathogens in and on firewood.
Regulatory: There may be existing federal, state, and local regulations about the transportation of firewood. Direct those cutting firewood for personal use to your state’s firewood-specific webpage for further information.
Pesticides: Do not use pesticides on firewood.
Example BMPs for Personal Customers
Trees not known to be infected or infested with a forest pest:
- Select healthy live trees to harvest as firewood. Dead, dying, or damaged trees may be infested with a pest or infected with a pathogen that makes them high-risk for transporting pests.
- Timing of harvest
- If there is a known pest of concern in the general area, there may be specific recommendations for timing of harvest. This will vary based on the pest or pathogen.
- In parts of the country where there is seasonal variation in temperature and day length, insects go through a period of dormancy. Firewood should be harvested in the spring to allow it to dry on-site during the summer months. Any pests that emerge from the firewood during that first summer are already present in the area and should not represent any additional risks.
- Seasoning firewood on-site
- Seasoning firewood at or near the harvest site is recommended. Seasoning firewood for 1 – 2 years will allow most developing invasive insects to leave the firewood before it is moved. Seasoned firewood is not necessarily “insect-free”. Seasoning wood on-site does not guarantee that the firewood is free from invasive pests.
- Season wood away from live trees and structures
- Live trees: where possible, season firewood away from live trees and structures.
- Structures: seasoning firewood away from structures at least 30 feet can reduce termite and wildfire risks. See www.firewise.org for structure recommendations related to fire safety.
Best Management Practices
Producers, Distributors, & Vendors