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MADISON – When you head for deer camp this November, bring everything you need for the hunt, but leave the firewood at home.
Firewood can carry invasive pests including emerald ash borer and gypsy moth, both insects that can destroy trees.
“Gypsy moth and EAB are two of the most destructive pests in North America,” says Christopher Deegan, chief of the Plant Protection Section of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “They could destroy the very forests that deer rely on for food and shelter. You don’t want to be the one who brings them into the North Woods.”
It is not only a bad idea to move firewood around the state. It is actually illegal in many cases to move firewood. Hardwood firewood cannot be carried from counties quarantined for gypsy moth or EAB to non-quarantined areas. In addition, the Department of Natural Resources prohibits bringing firewood onto state lands from more than 25 miles away, and the U.S. Forest Service prohibits bringing firewood into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from more than 25 miles away.
The exception to these prohibitions is for firewood that has been certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as having been treated to destroy pests. Certified firewood is clearly labeled. A list of certified firewood dealers is available online at http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Plants/pdf/CertifiedFirewoodDealers.pdf. Certified firewood is also often available at convenience stores and other places selling firewood.
Fifty-three counties in Wisconsin are quarantined for gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, or both. A map showing the quarantined counties is available online: http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/articleassets/Firewood_Movement_in_Wisconsin.pdf. Although firewood can be moved within the quarantine area, it is best to buy it where you burn it, and leave it there when you go home.
• Gather or buy your firewood at your destination.
• Use all the firewood you obtain and don’t take any home with you.
• Consider buying state-certified firewood.