Use local firewood in New York to prevent spread of invasive species

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — As the 2021 camping season is officially underway in New York, state officials are urging campers to use local firewood.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid encouraged this practice and for campers to follow the New York State firewood regulations.

According to Commissioner Seggos and Commissioner Kulleseid, these practices can help prevent the spread of invasive species.

“Using local firewood is an easy way to help protect our forests from invasive pests and diseases,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Moving untreated firewood is one of the main ways invasive pests spread to new areas. I urge all campers to help stop the spread of invasive species and protect the places we love by leaving untreated firewood at home and using firewood from local sources.”

“We all have a role to play in protecting our parks and forests from the risks of invasive species that can be carried on firewood,” said Commissioner Kulleseid. “By leaving their firewood at home and using only local sources, campers can help slow the spread of disease and protect our precious natural resources.”

The DEC reported that many outdoor recreationist will take campfire wood from their backyard or neighborhoods as they venture to their favorite camping spots. This poses risks as wood may be hiding eggs, larvae, spores, adults or seeds of invasive threats.

To avoid these risks, New York State has implemented firewood regulations. These include:

  • Prohibits untreated firewood from being brought into New York State from other states or countries
  • Prohibits untreated firewood grown in the state from being transported more than 50 miles from its source or origin
  • Require that people carry source, origin or treatment documentation whenever transporting firewood

As stated in the regulations, the origin of the wood is where it was grown. Those who cute firewood for personal use are required to complete a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin.

Additionally, producers of untreated firewood for sale must obtain wood grown within 50 miles of their business but may then declare the business as the source of the firewood.

The DEC confirmed that firewood that meets the state’s heat treatment, or 160 degrees Fahrenheit core temperature for 75 minutes, must be labeled “New York-Approved Heat Treated/ Pest Free,” and then can be moved without restriction. The Department stated that heat-treating to this standard has been proven to kill insects and disease that may live in firewood.

New York State firewood documents can be found on the DEC’s website.

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