Regulations in Tennessee

Sometimes, even the experts at Dear Don’t Move Firewood don’t have all the answers. Here’s our latest inquiry, with a guest answer from Tim Phelps at the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

I understand that we should not move firewood where I live in Tennessee… I live in Knox County which has a quarantine, my family’s farm is in Union County which is not under quarantine at this time. The firewood there is free for my cutting. But, am I allowed to move firewood this far? Can I move it from county to county. Or is the ban only for moving firewood across state lines? Is it okay to move firewood from a non quarantined county to a quarantined county. The distance to move it would be under thirty miles. Is this too far? Should I look for a safe and affordable fuel wood source locally in Knoxville? This is sad that this is happening. Wood is how we heat our home and save money. Just looking for answers and some direction on what I should do.

Thanks, Robert in Tennessee

Dear Robert,

Thanks for your interest and willingness to go the extra mile to find the correct information regarding movement of firewood in and out of regulated areas in Tennessee. In general, the restrictions in Tennessee allow you to move firewood from a non-regulated county to a regulated county, but that material cannot come back out of the regulated county unless it meets certain requirements. Tennessee has firewood movement restrictions in several of its eastern counties of the state, not all – yet. The restrictions are in place based on the presence of either the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) or Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), or both. The counties you mentioned – Knox and Union – are among those that restrict the movement of firewood. Knox County because it has both EAB and TCD. Union County is also currently under quarantine, but only for TCD (as of August 15, 2011).

Because Knox has both, you can move firewood into that county from Union. However, because Union does not have EAB, you cannot move firewood from Knox to Union. This is indeed confusing, but it amplifies the point that firewood is a pathway for multiple threats and that we need to limit its movement if we stand any chance of slowing the spread of these insects and diseases.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has “Regulations in Plain Language” for both the EAB and TCD quarantines available on their website for further reference.

You may also call their Regulatory Services Division at 1-800-628-2631.

Thanks for asking!

Tim Phelps, Tennessee Division of Forestry.