May 25, 2010
MADISON - Beginning June 1 only firewood gathered or purchased from a vendor who cut it from within 25 miles of a state managed property, or state-certified wood, may be brought onto the property. This change is being done to reduce the risk of bringing in destructive forest diseases and insects.
A previous law had allowed firewood cut or gathered up to 50 miles from a state property to be brought in but a newer study by forest health experts led to the adoption of the more protective 25 mile distance. The 2010 Memorial Day weekend will be the last weekend before the newer firewood restrictions go into effect.
DNR will have maps illustrating a 25 mile radius from Wisconsin state campgrounds on state parks and forests available after June 1.
"Invasive species threaten the health of our forests," said Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR forest health specialist. "Insect pests such as emerald ash borer and gypsy moth and diseases like oak wilt and Dutch elm disease spread to new areas easily in firewood. Collectively, these invasive species have already killed millions of trees in Wisconsin."
Wood from vendors certified by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is exempted from this law. Wood from state certified vendors may enter any state property regardless of where the wood was harvested. This is because to be certified, vendors must treat their wood to kill pests or diseases that might be within it. For a list of certified vendors and more information on the certification program and how to become a certified vendor, go to http://www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov and select Firewood Regulations, and see the section on "What is Acceptable Firewood?"
People planning to camp in a Wisconsin state park or forest this year, should get firewood locally, advise DNR property managers. Most parks and forests have local firewood available for sale on site or from vendors nearby the property. Using local firewood helps to ensure the health of the parks and forests that are so much a part of living in Wisconsin. To learn more about firewood availability at your destination, contact them directly. A list of phone numbers for parks is available online at: www.wiparks.net.
For more information on forest health including links to the state's emerald ash borer and gypsy moth control efforts visit the Department of Natural Resources website.
"A campsite surrounded by healthy, mature trees is basic to a quality camping experience, and so is having a campfire." says Diss-Torrance. "If we are going to enjoy both, we need to take some precautions to prevent introducing invasive pests and diseases to the parks and forests we love the most. By using wood from trees grown nearby, you help prevent such introductions."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Robinson Klug, DNR forest health educator, (608) 266-2172 or Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR Forest Health Specialist, (608) 264-9247