2018-10-11 / Outdoors

State residents asked to be ‘firewood aware’ outdoors

LANSING – October is Firewood Awareness Month, and Michigan is joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy to encourage smart firewood choices that protect forests and landscape trees.

Most invasive species don’t move very far on their own. John Bedford, Pest Response Program specialist with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, “Tree pests and diseases most often are spread when humans unintentionally transport them on infested firewood.”

Heading out for a fishing or hunting weekend or to enjoy fall colors? Leave firewood at home. Instead, the DNR and MDARD recommend:

• Buying firewood where you’ll burn it.

• Buying certified, heat-treated firewood when available.

• Gathering firewood on-site when permitted.

Major concerns in Michigan include oak wilt and beech bark disease. Pests that could reach Michigan from nearby states include Asian longhorned beetle and spotted lanternfly.

“Infestations on or in firewood may not be visible, so it isn’t as easy as checking wood before it is moved,” Bedford said.

The best way to protect forests and landscape trees is to use locally sourced firewood or wood that is certified by the USDA as heat-treated to kill pests and diseases.

Visit firewoodscout.org to find a firewood vendor near your destination. Learn more about invasive species at michigan.gov/ invasivespecies or contact Joanne Foreman at (517) 284-5814.

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