Buy and burn local firewood

newspaperWhen stocking up on firewood this season, forestry officials have a hot tip.

Buy local and burn local when it comes to fueling your campfire, fireplace or wood-burning stove, and you will be doing your part to curb the spread of invasive insects and disease.

“We don’t normally think about outdoor insects when it gets cold, but we do like a cozy fire on occasion,” remarked Hunter Richardson, who farms in King and Queen County and serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Forestry Advisory Committee. “If you’re concerned about introducing new types of forest insects and diseases into our community, stop and consider where you obtain firewood. Forest pests can hibernate and be shipped over a great distance, so it’s best to purchase local firewood.”

Buying local firewood not only supports the local economy but also promotes good forestry.

Virginia Department of Forestry forest health specialist Katlin Mooneyham agreed that purchasing firewood sourced from the area in which it will be burned is important to the forest health community.

“The Emerald Ash Borer, an insect native to Asia, is killing ash trees in Virginia,” Mooneyham explained. “It has small larvae that live under the bark of trees and are often unnoticed. If someone were to cut an infested tree down and then take that wood to a county that does not have EAB, the larvae could potentially hatch and spread to other ash trees.”

For anyone such as campers traveling from one location to another, Mooneyham recommends not transporting firewood unless it is heat-treated.

She said the DOF has partnered with a program called Firewood Scout to aid Virginians in finding safe wood. People can visit the website to find areas near their campgrounds to purchase firewood.

For people who use wood to heat their homes, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommends harvesting firewood locally or purchasing wood from a dealer who complies with state or regional firewood regulations.

According to, firewood should be from only a few miles away, or at least within the same county. If it comes from up to 50 miles away, that is still OK.

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