Summer is in full swing, and for a lot of us, that means weekend camping trips. Many of us purchase firewood where we camp, but there are still numerous people that choose to chop and bring their own wood. While this may sound harmless, those that transport untreated firewood risk bringing along invasive insects, such as the Emerald Ash Borer. These pests are devastating to the local wildlife, and every attempt should be made to stifle their rapid spread. Keep reading for more information on the existing regulations, and the recent revision.
DEC REVISES THE FIREWOOD TRANSPORT REGULATION
Requirements Clarified for Producers, Consumers and Enforcement Personnel
After several years of education, outreach and enforcement of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Firewood Regulation, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that the 2009 regulations have been revised to help ease regulatory compliance and enforcement. The basics and purpose of the revised regulation remain the same and still prohibit untreated firewood from entering the state and restrict intra-state movement of untreated firewood to no more than 50 miles from its source.
“Without the existence of this regulation, firewood infested with invasive insects such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle could be transported throughout the state spreading infestations from one place to another,” said Commissioner Martens. “To help reduce damages to New York’s forests and community trees, New Yorkers and visitors are urged to comply with the state’s regulations, which restrict the major vector for the introduction of these pests.”
The revised regulation focuses enforcement on untreated firewood that is in transit, and any firewood possessed on state lands. The revisions also articulate DEC’s authority to confiscate and destroy non-compliant firewood under the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL 9-1303). The updated definition of “Firewood,” now specifically excludes logs being moved to manufacturing facilities for processing (sawmills, pulp and paper mills, biomass power plants, etc.) from regulation as “firewood,” as this regulation is intended to regulate firewood specifically. Other regulations exist for log transport, which are enforced by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, including transport restrictions from the twenty counties in New York that are under state and federal Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) quarantines.
For information on the restrictions on transporting firewood, visit the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html. New Yorkers are urged to take the following steps to keep invasive species from spreading to other areas of the state:
- It is best to leave all firewood at home – do not bring it to campgrounds or parks.
- Get firewood at the campground or from a local vendor – make sure to receive a receipt or label that lists the firewood’s local source.
- If transporting firewood within New York State:
- It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood’s source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source.
- For firewood not purchased (i.e., cut from your own property) you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin (https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfisscert.pdf) and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.
- Only firewood that meets New York’s heat treatment standards (heated at 160 degrees F for 75 minutes) to kill pests and labeled as, “New York-Approved Treated Firewood/Pest-Free” may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood’s source.
EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash. The first detection of EAB in New York was in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. With a dozen New York counties infested with the emerald ash borer, mainly in the Hudson Valley and the western portion of the state, it is more important than ever to increase early detection of this insect, and slow its spread. By finding infestations early, DEC can better manage infestations, which can reduce environmental and economic costs that can be incurred by local governments and landowners. To learn how to spot infestations and report suspected damage, please utilize the Volunteer Survey Form which can be found at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/72136.html.
Damage from EAB is caused by the larvae, which feed in tunnels just below the ash tree’s bark. The tunnels disrupt water and nutrient transport, causing branches and eventually the entire tree to die. Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing and extensive sprouting from the roots and trunk. Infested trees may also exhibit woodpecker damage from larvae extraction.
For more information on invasive forest pests, visit the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html or call toll free 1-866-640-0652. You may also visit the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/PI/eab.html.
*Campfire photo by Flickr user Martin Cathrae