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DEC, State Parks encourage campers to use local firewood while enjoying outdoors

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Tue, May 11th 2021 12:40 pm

State's firewood regulations limit firewood movement to protect NYS forests

With the start of the 2021 camping season underway, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid encouraged campers to use local firewood and follow state firewood regulations to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Untreated firewood – firewood that has not met the state's heat treatment standard – can contain invasive pests that kill trees. To protect New York's forests, untreated firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from its source of origin.

"Using local firewood is an easy way to help protect our forests from invasive pests and diseases," Seggos said. "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."

Kulleseid said, “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. 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.”

Many people take campfire wood from their backyards or neighborhoods as they head out to a favorite camping spot, not realizing the wood may be hiding the eggs, larvae, spores, adults or even seeds of invasive threats. Hitching a ride on infested or infected firewood allows these pests to spread faster and farther than they could have on their own. A variety of invasive species can be transported on firewood, from wood boring beetles and defoliators to fungi and diseases.

New York State Firewood Regulations

√ Prohibit untreated firewood from being brought into New York from other states or countries;

√ Prohibit untreated firewood grown in the state from being transported more than 50 miles from its source or origin; and

√ Require that people carry source, origin or treatment documentation whenever transporting firewood.

The origin of the wood is where it was grown. Anyone who cuts firewood for personal use is required to fill out a self-issued certificate of origin (pdf), available on DEC's website. 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. Examples of the source documentation (PDF) are also available on DEC's website. Consumers purchasing untreated firewood should make sure the source is clearly labeled to know how far the wood may be transported.

Firewood that meets the state's heat treatment standard (160 degrees Fahrenheit core temperature for 75 minutes) needs to be labeled "New York-Approved Heat Treated/Pest Free," and can be moved without restriction. Heat-treating to this standard has been proven to kill insects and diseases that may be in firewood. Kiln-dried only means the wood was heated to dry it out so it will burn well, but it may not have reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes. Purchasers of heat-treated firewood are encouraged to look for the appropriate label indicating the wood meets the standard. Pressure-treated firewood should never be burned.

Quarantines for individual invasive species, such as oak wilt and the Asian longhorned beetle, may further restrict the transport of firewood in specific areas. As quarantines are lifted, expanded or tightened, the firewood regulation will continue to remain in place.

For more information on firewood and invasive insects or to see DEC’s PSA or visit DEC's website.

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