Buy Local Firewood When You Camp In The Allegheny Highlands

Warm Springs, VA – Invasive species such as insects and disease are serious threats to the health of our forests. Some of these pests, such as chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, have nearly eliminated major tree species across the majority of their natural range. State and Federal agencies have recently been fighting the spread of Emerald Ash Borer.

A major pathway for the spread of invasive species and diseases is firewood. Emerald ash borer was first detected in West Virginia at a campground in Fayette County in October 2007. In May of 2009 it was found near a popular state park in Morgan County. In mid-August, two beetles were caught in Roane County on one of the purple detection traps that were placed throughout the state as part of the emerald ash borer surveillance program.

Firewood brought into West Virginia from infested states is thought to be responsible for some of the emerald ash borer found in West Virginia. The sites in Fayette and Morgan Counties both were near campgrounds.

West Virginia was added to the national quarantine program for Emerald Ash Borer in the fall of 2009. This means that out of state movement of firewood, ash logs, and lumber is regulated by the USDA. That means firewood is prohibited to be moved out of West Virginia.

Never assume untreated firewood is safe to move. Even experts cannot always find signs of infested wood, such as a couple of pin-head sized insect eggs, or a few microscopic fungus spores, in a pile of wood. Although State and Federal governments work hard to survey for and understand where destructive forest pests are located, you cannot be certain of the actual distribution. For these reasons, even firewood produced in an area not known to harbor one or more of these pests should be handled with the same care used for firewood from known areas of infestation.

By following the recommendations you can be certain that you are producing and using your firewood in a responsible manner.

Use and buy firewood locally

Firewood from trees that grow less than fifty miles can be considered local firewood.

Don’t transport firewood from home don’t take it across county lines, especially to second homes. Don’t take it to summer homes, cottages, cabins and hunting shacks or campgrounds.

Don’t take firewood from home that you got elsewhere.

Inspect all dead or dying trees used to produce firewood for signs of insects or disease. Suspect insects or diseases should be saved and reported to your local agricultural extension agent.

Living trees used for firewood also may have hidden insects or diseases present.

Exotic insect and disease problems often arrive first in urban areas. Arborists and citizens should pay particular attention to dead or dying landscape and street trees when cut for firewood because these trees are most likely to harbor invasive forest pests.

Never treat firewood with an insecticide or pesticide. Doing so could result in exposure to toxic fumes when the wood is burned.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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