Forestry officials want Tennesseans to keep it local and “buy where you burn” or look for certified heat-treated options when choosing firewood.
“Please help us to protect the trees and forests of Tennessee from invasive insects and diseases,” says Heather Slayton, forest health unit leader for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. “Buy local firewood at or near your destination or use certified heat-treated firewood.”
A deadly threat to trees, the emerald ash borer – a beetle native to Asia – feeds on a tree’s inner bark, causing it to eventually die. Other invasive insects and diseases include the Asian long-horned beetle, European gypsy moth and hemlock woolly adelgid, among others. All get a free ride when you transport firewood where they reside, usually undetected.
Several precautions can help reduce risk. Be aware of state and county regulations – many Tennessee counties prohibit moving firewood outside county lines. Also, bringing firewood into the state from elsewhere is strongly discouraged.
If camping, determine local firewood distributors by calling state parks, federal parks or forest officials when driving to a campsite, or visit the free online directory Firewood Scout and type in your destination’s ZIP code.
After locating firewood, always ask where the wood was cut (this should be within a short distance of the site) or if it was heat-treated to kill pests. And never transport locally purchased firewood outside the area.