August 31, 2014

DNR seeks public input on firewood transport

Public comment is now open on a proposed change to the rules on travelling with firewood. The DNR would like to reduce the distance untreated firewood can be transported from its original location onto state-owned properties, from 25 miles to just 10 miles.

Forest health specialist Andrea Diss-Torrance says insects and diseases love to hitchhike in firewood. The firewood rule aims to prevent the spread of harmful pests and diseases that kill trees. “If you’re bringing firewood from a long distance, you’re more likely bringing in wood that could be carrying pests that are established where you got the wood but might not yet be at the property or park where you brought it.”

Firewood that appears to be clean may actually be hiding insects like emerald ash borer or gypsy moth, or the tiny spores of a deadly fungus like oak wilt. Diss-Torrance says limiting the movement of firewood, or using treated wood, could slow down the spread of tree-killing bugs and fungal disease to trees at Wisconsin campsites, statewide parks, along your streets, or in your backyard. Instead of transporting your supply, get your firewood where you’re going to use it.

A number of public comment meetings will be held later this month across the state, but Diss-Torrance is taking written and phone comments already. Public hearings on the new rule are set for October 29th in Madison, Eau Claire, Wausau, and Green Bay.

CONTACT: Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov or call 608-264-9247