Published comments on the emerald ash borer deregulation proposal

This fall’s recent open comment period on the proposal to lift the federal quarantine on emerald ash borer brought in well over 140 comments, many of them from national, regional, or statewide groups. In order to facilitate finding and reading the comments that are most pertinent to our partners’ needs and interests, the staff at Don’t Move Firewood have created a linked list of comments sorted into broad groups. Please note this is NOT all the comments, and errors and omissions in this listing may exist. For the full and definitive list of all public comments, please visit Regulations.gov directly.

National or Large Regional Scope Groups:

State or Tribal Governments and Agencies:

National Private Industry Groups:

Other Groups:

Firewood – it’s not as dead as you think

Guest blog by David Coyle, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University

Firewood.  For some, collecting, splitting, and stacking firewood may be considered a right of passage.  I mean, when I was growing up, I helped my father replenish the woodpile every year – it was one of those things that was a given, like the changing of the seasons.  It’s often free, so long as you collect it yourself, and this makes it a very attractive heat source for many people.  In most cases, people will cut firewood from trees that have already died or been damaged – this way, the wood has already started curing, and can be burned sooner.  Storms can provide lots of firewood material, and I remember cutting up storm-damaged trees as a kid.

That said, firewood has become a lightning rod of a topic in the last few years and has been implicated in the movement of several invasive species throughout North America.  But how long CAN insects live in firewood, really?  I’ve heard people say the likelihood of pests moving in firewood is overblown, yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that invasive species have been spread through firewood.  As a scientist and educator with degrees in entomology, I can tell you that several types of insects that live in wood have life cycles that are perfectly suited to making a life in a piece of firewood, yet up until recently, we didn’t have a lot of really sound science to support these notions (even though having cut and split more firewood in my lifetime than I can remember, I can tell you that many insects can live in a log).  But thanks to Dr. Kevin Dodds, a forest entomologist with the USDA Forest Service in Durham, NH, we now have hard data AND evidence that firewood can be a major pathway in which insects are moved.

Larvae found in backyard firewood, Credit: D. Coyle, Clemson University

Dr. Dodds and his team collected firewood in the same manner in which any homeowner would from a forest after a major windstorm blew through and created all sorts of injured/broken/blown down trees – perfect trees for firewood.  They collected logs one, two, and three years after the storm, took those logs home, split them into firewood-sized piece – again, just like a homeowner would – and then kept them in special containers (called rearing chambers) for a year to record what came out of them.

And what did come out of those pieces of firewood?  THOUSANDS OF INSECTS- even three years after the storm.  And while they didn’t find any really nasty invasive species coming out of the firewood in this study, they found members of the same groups of insects that wreak the most havoc in our forests – bark and ambrosia beetles (the same group as the redbay ambrosia beetle, which is likely responsible for up to 500 million dead trees in the southeastern U.S.), long-horned beetles (the same group as the Asian longhorned beetle, which is a very significant tree pest currently being eradicated in three states within the U.S.), and buprestid beetles (the same group as the emerald ash borer, which has killed over 70 million trees and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in management costs). In fact, the third year of the study was when the most insects came out of the logs!

A tree killed three years ago may look dead on the outside, but it’s teeming with life on the inside.  By all means, you can use it for firewood.  But don’t move it from where it falls to where you burn it very far – ideally you should use it within a few miles of where you get it – because you never know what’s lurking inside that log.

This blog is an independent response and view of the study here: Dodds, K.J., R.P. Hanavan, and M.F. DiGirolomo. 2017. Firewood collected after a catastrophic wind event: the bark beetle (Scolytinae) and woodborer (Buprestidae, Cerambycidae) community present over a 3-year period. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 19: 309-320, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/afe.12210

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Pathogen Found in Kaua‘i Forest

Guest blog by Melissa Fisher, Director of Kauai Forest Program, The Hawai’i Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

One evening early in May 2018 I received a call from the Kauaʻi Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) branch manager that started with, “Are you sitting down?” She quickly shared with me devastating information that the deadly disease that has killed thousands of trees on the island of Hawai’i, Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD), had now also been found on the island of Kauaʻi. ʻŌhiʻa trees anchor Kauaʻi’s native forest and are deeply significant culturally. The thought that kept running through my mind was, “we thought we had more time.”

A state forester noticed a suspect tree on Forest Reserve land on Kauaʻi and sent a sample to the lab on Hawai‘i island. The sample tested positive for the less aggressive of the two fungal pathogens that are present on Hawai‘i island, named Ceratocystis huliohia. Though less aggressive, it is still a grave threat to ʻōhiʻa forests.

Over the last year, Kauaʻi conservation leaders have been meeting quarterly to review information about the spread of the fungus on Hawai‘i Island and discuss science, signage, and communications plans. We planned to raise public awareness on Kauaʻi, in the hopes of preventing the spread of ROD to our island and our ʻōhiʻa forests.

The phone call was quite a shock, but because we were already organized, we were able to mobilize quickly on Kauaʻi and collaborate with experts from Hawaii island to survey, sample more trees, and determine the best next steps.

There is a lot we do not yet know about the infected area but teams from multiple organizations are working together to determine its extent. A variety of techniques are being used, including: digital sketch mapping of trees using teams in a helicopter, drone surveys to assist with on-the-ground sampling , and testing of a new remote sensing digital mapping technique to map larger areas of the forest.

(photo: Forest survey crew with staff experts from Hawaii island helping to sample suspect trees. credit: L. Behnke, TNC)

All conservation teams on Kauaʻi are on alert in their work areas to report any ʻōhiʻa trees that might have been killed by the fungus.  The ROD fungus itself is not visible on the outside of the tree, so a few characters may help determine if your tree might be infected. First, an apparently healthy tree’s crown will turn from green to yellow then brown and appear dead over a few days to weeks if it has ROD. Next, leaf death will not be scattered but entire branches or the entire crown will die at once. If the tree is in a location were ROD is rare or unconfirmed, then it is possible that the tree died from something other than ROD such as injury or other pathogens. There are several diseases that kill ʻōhiʻa trees and show symptoms similar to ROD. If the tree is in a location where ROD is already prevalent, then it’s very likely that the tree has died from ROD infection. To be positive that the tree has ROD, you would have to submit a sample for testing.

On Kauaʻi, we are asking everyone to help prevent the spread of ROD by doing these five things:

  1. Avoid injuring the bark, branches, or leaves of ʻōhiʻa trees.
  2. Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts.
  3. Don’t transport ʻōhiʻa wood or parts inter-island.
  4. Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes, before and after entering forests. Brush all soil off of tools and gear, then spray with 70% rubbing alcohol. Wash clothes with hot water and soap.
  5. Wash the tires and undercarriage of your vehicle to remove all soil or mud when off-roading or have picked up mud from driving.

Our collaborative team is also laying the groundwork to reach out across Kaua’i to reach specific groups of people who can help spread the word and help prevent the spread, such as; large equipment operators, large land-owners, cultural practitioners, and all forest users.

For more information:

 

 

New Don’t Move Firewood Radio Advertisements Available

The team at Don’t Move Firewood is excited to announce that our new radio advertisements are now available for free download! We’ve created a series of six different radio spots, appropriate for a variety of Public Service Announcement needs.

You can find all six Radio PSA spots in our Resource Library. They are available in 60 second, 30 second, and 15 second formats to fit a variety of time slots, and each length comes in two versions; one version that advises purchasing certified heat treated firewood (“Certified”), and one version that does not mention this type of firewood (“Local”). We created two versions of each length so that outreach professionals could pick the version that best suits their area. Certified heat treated firewood is not commonly available for purchase in some parts of the US and Canada (generally, central and Western states and provinces), while in other parts of the US and Canada it is very commonly available for purchase.

    • DMF PSA, 60 seconds, Certified versionCall to action is “Don’t move firewood long distances- instead, buy your firewood near where you’ll burn it, or pick up certified heat treated firewood, or do it the old fashioned way and gather wood at your campsite if its allowed.” Mentions Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer.
    • DMF PSA, 60 seconds, Local versionCall to action is ““Don’t move firewood long distances- instead, buy your firewood near where you’ll burn it, or do it the old fashioned way and gather wood at your campsite if its allowed.”” Mentions Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer.
    • DMF PSA, 30 seconds, Certified versionCall to action is “Don’t move firewood long distances- instead, buy your firewood near where you’ll burn it, or pick up certified heat treated firewood, or do it the old fashioned way and gather wood at your campsite if its allowed.”
    • DMF PSA, 30 seconds, Local versionCall to action is “Don’t move firewood long distances- instead, buy your firewood near where you’ll burn it, or do it the old fashioned way and gather wood at your campsite if its allowed.”
    • DMF PSA, 15 seconds, Certified versionCall to action is “Buy local, or certified heat treated firewood, or gather wood on site.”
    • DMF PSA, 15 seconds, Local versionCall to action is “Buy local firewood, or gather firewood at your campsite if allowed.”

If you have any questions about these Radio PSAs, please Contact Us. You DO NOT NEED OUR PERMISSION to use these for any educational purposes, as long as you will play your selected audio file in its entirety without modifications.

Firewood moving question from Idaho

Dear Don’t Move Firewood, 

My family has a camping reservation at Riley Creek Recreation Area in Idaho. We live in Post Falls, Idaho; and are wondering if we can bring our own firewood, locally harvested, to the facility?

Yours,

Idahoans

Dear Idahoans,

There are no quarantines that restrict the movement of firewood in your general area, and the state of Idaho suggests using firewood from within the region- and ideally within 50 miles of its source. From Post Falls to the Riley Creek area is just about 50 miles, and it doesn’t appear that campground has any additional restrictions beyond Idaho’s recommendations. With all that in mind, you should be fine to use your own locally cut firewood for this camping trip. Thank you for asking!

For more information, please visit:

Editor’s Note: we edit, shorten, and make anonymous all Dear Don’t Move Firewood entries- but they are all derived from real emails or Facebook posts! 

 

Where can I donate firewood?

It is that time of year again, when people are taking down dead trees as part of summer property maintenance and then they ask us…

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Is there a place I can donate my wood in the Rockford, Ilinois area? / Is there anyone in the San Francisco, CA area that takes firewood donations? / I live in Fort Washington MD and I have firewood I want to donate. Where can I go?

Sincerely, 

Three Well Meaning Firewood Owners

Dear TWMFOs,

Every single town and area is different, so it is best to “let your fingers do the walking” as the old phone book ads used to say. Once you’ve positively confirmed that moving firewood in your area is legal in the first place using our Firewood Regulations Summary Map, I suggest the following:

  • Call up local food banks and ask if they take firewood donations
  • Call local churches or other types of aid organizations and ask if they take firewood donations
  • Use internet searches for the word “wood bank” and the names of towns in your immediate vicinity (i.e. Springfield Wood Bank, etc) to see if there is any mention of a wood bank anywhere near you.

Thanks for having good intentions with that extra firewood!

You might also want to read these archived blogs:

Editor’s Note: we edit, shorten, and make anonymous all Dear Don’t Move Firewood entries- but they are all derived from real emails or Facebook posts!

Burning Poles as an Idea

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Can we burn scrap utility power poles in campgrounds? Of course, these would be nail/screws/plate free, just wood.

Sincerely, 

Scrappy Idea

Dear Scrappy Idea,

Wood utility poles are nearly always heavily treated with one or several preservative chemicals to prevent rot and insect infestation. The chemicals that are most common in North America are pentachlorophenol, chromated copper arsenate, copper naphthenate, creosote, and ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate. These preservatives include heavy metals and other hazardous chemicals – and therefore this potential wood source would be very hazardous both to your health, and to air quality, to burn in a campfire, fire pit, or wood stove setting. I would highly urge you to find another source of wood for campfires, whether that’s gathering wood near your campsite when permitted, or purchasing local firewood.

Thank you for asking!

Editor’s Note: we edit, shorten, and make anonymous all Dear Don’t Move Firewood entries- but they are all derived from real emails or Facebook posts! 

Burning a fallen ash tree

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Our ash tree fell in a storm. We know about not using it for firewood or transporting it, but what can we do? It is a 20 year old tree that was 20 foot tall. Thanks.

Yours,

Hopeful Tree Reuser

Dear Hopeful Tree Reuser,

You are welcome to use your ash tree for firewood if you are burning it in the immediate vicinity of where the tree grew- whether in your own woodstove, your patio fire pit, or even your next door neighbor’s wood stove, too. The problem with ash trees and moving firewood is when you move the wood miles and miles away from where the tree grew, but burning it locally is fine. Please note, without knowing exactly where you live, I can’t say for sure that moving this wood off your own property is legal- so do check on local regulations if you intend to move the wood past your own property line, just to be safe. Regulations vary greatly across the country and even sometimes between cities.

The main practical alternative to burning it as firewood would be chipping it up into mulch. You can often rent chippers, or get a landscaping company to do this for a fee. Another idea is that if your area has municipal composting, you can bring it there to be chipped and turned into fresh soil. And last but not least, if the tree is in a place where it isn’t bothering anybody, you can just leave it there. Of course, that only makes sense if you have a large property, but it is an option!

Oh, and one last thing to keep in mind- if you believe your tree is/was infested with emerald ash borer, and you’d like to minimize the chance that the fallen tree allows more beetles to emerge this year, you should dispose of it as soon as possible.

Thank you for asking!

For more information, please visit:

Editor’s Note: we edit, shorten, and make anonymous all Dear Don’t Move Firewood entries- but they are all derived from real emails or Facebook posts! 

Free Downloads for Tree Check Month 2018

August is Tree Check Month! Everyone is encouraged to take 10 minutes to check their trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. To help you learn about the beetle, or to provide materials for your outreach needs, we’ve rounded up all the best free resources that we could find! This list will be updated throughout the summer of 2018 as new materials are found or created!

Infographics and Handouts:

Fun Outreach Items for Kids:

Template text to paste into outreach statements:

  • Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com
  • (Your organization can help by encouraging the public to check / You can help by checking) trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle in August. Look for round exit holes, shallow scars in the bark, sawdust-like material on or around tree, and the beetle itself.

Blogs and News Releases:

Social Media Tips:

Educational Videos:

General Information:

Rules for moving firewood within Florida

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Can firewood be transported inside the state of Florida for approximately 450 miles?

Sincerely, 

Floridian

Dear Floridian,

Within the state of Florida, multiple state authorities highly encourage that everyone uses local sources of firewood- and local is define as cut/harvested within 50 miles of where it will be used. This recommendation is in place to prevent the movement of pests within Florida, such as laurel wilt disease, imported fire ant, giant African snail, and others. The answer to your question it therefore that while it is not illegal to move firewood 450 miles within Florida, it is very highly discouraged. Instead, we advise buying or harvesting firewood within 50 miles of your destination, to minimize the chances of moving invasive insects and diseases. Thank you for asking!

For more information, please visit:

Editor’s Note: we edit, shorten, and make anonymous all Dear Don’t Move Firewood entries- but they are all derived from real emails or Facebook posts!