MADISON – People heading out camping this Memorial Day weekend and through the summer can do their part to protect Wisconsin’s urban and wildland trees by buying and burning firewood locally, and not moving it from location to location.
“Getting your firewood close to where you will use it reduces the risk that you will introduce an invasive pest or disease,” says Andrea Diss-Torrance, forest health specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
For people camping at state parks and forests, state law requires that any firewood brought to a property be from within 10 miles of the campground, be from outside of a quarantined area in Wisconsin or another state, unless the property is also within a quarantine, or be certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that it has been processed to kill potential pests and diseases hiding inside.
Most state park and forest campgrounds have firewood available for sale at campgrounds. Hours of firewood sales may vary by property. People can check on firewood availability by searching the Department of Natural Resources website for “find a park” and then clicking on a park or forest property and then the link for “camping information” on the right side navigation panel.
This year, on-the-go travelers will be able to use a new national, smartphone friendly Firewood Scout website, www.firewoodscout.org, to check if firewood is available at a state campground. The DNR has loaded firewood availability at state properties into the website, which is operated by a nonprofit organization established to help people buy firewood locally. Started in Michigan. Wisconsin is one of three states that has recently been added to the database.
In addition to listing what state properties have firewood available, the Firewood Scout also lists private vendors located within 10 miles of state properties. Private vendors list their own information on the website and the Department of Natural Resources does not verify the accuracy of the listings. If businesses have questions they may contact Kari Divine of Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development, which is helping coordinate Firewood Scout listings in Wisconsin, at 920-465-3006.
Firewood Scout also offers information on invasive species of concern and a set of questions consumers can ask to help assure the wood they purchase is at low risk for spreading invasive insects and diseases.
“People should be empowered with the necessary information to be part of the solution to the invasive species problem,” Diss-Torrance said. “Buying local firewood is one way everyone can do their part to protect Wisconsin’s forests. Remember to ‘Buy It Where You Burn It,’ and don’t move firewood.”
For more information on the risks of moving firewood, or firewood rules in Wisconsin, go to dnr.wi.gov, keyword “firewood.”