Mississippi Forestry Commission encourages neighbors to buy local firewood

Publish Date: December 11, 2020

Estimated Time: 2 min read

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) is advising Mississippians to purchase local firewood in order to prevent the spread of tree-killing forest pests.

“When it comes to buying firewood, make sure you buy logs that have been cut in your county,” said Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester. “Moving firewood over long distances (more than 50 miles) can increase the risk of introducing new pests that kill trees.”

According to the commission, transporting firewood can potentially create new infestations of invasive insects and diseases, which can lurk in firewood at any time of the year. These tree-killing pests cannot move far on their own, but when people move firewood that harbors them, they unwittingly enable these pests to start an infestation far from their current range.

Past invaders have devastated native species of trees such as the American chestnut, hemlock, and American elm- tree species which have been part of American forests and city streets for centuries prior to invasion of foreign pests.

Here are some firewood safety tips:

  • Obtain firewood near the location where you will burn it – that means the wood was cut in a nearby forest, in the same county, or at a maximum of 50 miles from where you’ll have your fire.
  • Don’t be tempted to get firewood from a remote location just because the wood looks clean and healthy. It could still harbor tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungal spores that will start a new and deadly infestation of forest pests.
  • Aged or seasoned wood is not considered safe to move, but commercially kiln-dried wood is a good option if you must transport firewood.
  • If you have already moved firewood, and you now know you need to dispose of it safely, burn it soon and completely. Make sure to rake the storage area carefully and also burn the debris. In the future, buy from a local source.
  • Tell your friends and others about the risks of moving firewood – no one wants to be responsible for starting a new pest infestation.

For more information on firewood, click here.