SACRAMENTO—Californians can help protect urban and wildland trees this summer by buying firewood local to where they will be using it and not moving it from one place to another. Invasive insects and diseases can hitchhike on firewood, spreading to new locations where they can further damage trees and native environments.
“Time and time again we see invasive species spread long distances as a result of firewood movement. This is something we can all help stop. Keeping firewood local is such an easy way for all of us to help do our part to protect our trees and the forests we love,” said Katie Harrell, California Firewood Task Force Chair.
Invasive species such as the goldspotted oak borer, shot hole borers, sudden oak death, and pitch canker are killing millions of trees in California, and all can move on firewood. Over the past year alone, the goldspotted oak borer, Kuroshio shot hole borer, and polyphagous shot hole borer have spread to new counties in southern California as a result of firewood and green waste movement. Trees susceptible to one or more of these pests are found throughout most of the state, making it paramount that firewood not move outside of its local area.
Campers and homeowners looking for locally sourced wood can go to www.firewoodscout.org to identify where local firewood distributors are in a given area. The site also offers information on invasive species of concern in California in addition to a set of questions consumers can ask firewood dealers to help assure the wood being purchased is low risk for invasive insects and diseases.
For more information on invasive species in California’s forests or the risks of moving firewood and the California Firewood Task Force, go to www.firewood.ca.gov or contact Katie Harrell at (510) 847-5482.
The California Firewood Task Force is a nonprofit subcommittee of the California Forest Pest Council. It is a coalition of agencies, organizations, and other stakeholders working to protect the State’s urban and wildland forests as well as natural environment from invasive pests that can be moved on firewood.