Scrap lumber for firewood in the West

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

What about scrap lumber, 2x4s and such? Since the original lumber is moved around the country before I buy it at the lumber yard, it doesn’t seem that restricting its movement could have any impact on the pest problem. Can I safely carry around a box of 2×4 scraps to use as kindling….and obtain “real” wood at the site? Would California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Colorado have any problem with that?


Thifty Lumber Saver

Dear Thrifty,

Scrap 2×4 lumber (or similar) that has been stored in a clean and dry indoor location- to prevent infestation from insects or soil after the lumber was cut- is typically fine to use, and generally not prohibited by the states you listed. The only exception that is worth noting is that some campgrounds prohibit the use of scrap lumber because of safety risk to their workers of nails, brackets, strongties, etc being left in fire pits. Check ahead of time, just in case that’s the case.

For more information on this topic, 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!

From Texas to New Mexico

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Could you please provide information on buying wood in NM? I’m traveling from Texas to a campground in New Mexico, and if I get pulled over by police, how are they going to know the wood we have attached to our RV was purchased in NM and is legal? Are there specific requirements regarding the purchase I need to have on hand to document the wood is legal? Thanks for your help.


RVing into the Land of Enchantment

Dear RVer,

The enforcement of firewood regulations in your area (Texas and New Mexico) relies almost entirely on stated origin- that is to say, if you say “I bought all this in New Mexico” then any enforcing officer would be expected take you at your word. Now, if you are concerned about this process- and I understand you may be- just keep the receipts for the purchase if possible. That is by far the easiest and simplest solution. Then, in the very unlikely chance you run into a problem, you have paperwork to help you out.

Thank you for your diligence and have a great time in New Mexico!

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!

Moving from California to Montana

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

We are moving from California to Montana, and I was curious if I could take the oak firewood with us. Just wanted to check. Thanks!


Moving to Montana Soon

Dear Moving to Montana Soon,

There are many invasive insects and diseases that live in oaks in California that could infest the trees of Montana- the various hardwood trees like alder, aspen, birch, rocky mountain maple, cottonwood, green ash, black cherry, and others could be infested with quite a few insects that affect oaks in California. I would urge you to please leave your firewood at home and purchase or harvest firewood in Montana when you get there. Montana has excellent access to firewood harvesting areas throughout the state. Depending on exactly where you are in California, it could also be illegal for you to bring firewood from CA to MT- but regardless of location, it is not advised by the state forestry and agricultural authorities.

Thank you for asking, and congratulations on your move.

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!

Webinar: Resources for Jumpstarting Outreach on Invasive Species, February 22

Join us for a FOCI webinar, Resources for Jumpstarting Outreach on Invasive Species, on Thursday, February 22 2018 at 11am Eastern (8am Pacific, 9 Mountain, 10 Central). This webinar is being held in coordination with the Emerald Ash Borer University Program, EABU, which is managed by the great folks over at We’ll be talking about the various resource groups and collections that are helpful for inspiration and education of outreach professionals working on the topic of invasive species, with a close focus on non-native forest insects and diseases. This webinar is now complete! We had 36 attendees and a robust Q&A at the end.

  • Recorded webinar now available here via the Emerald Ash Borer University YouTube channel: and also here, in an identical copy, via the Don’t Move Firewood YouTube channel: 
  • (The link to order materials is no longer available. Please email Leigh if you would like to request materials. Thank you.)

Webinar: Regulations that apply to moving firewood right now, on January 25

Join us for a FOCI webinar, Regulations that apply to moving firewood right now, on Thursday, January 25th 2018 at noon Eastern (9am Pacific, 10 Mountain, 11 Central). The regulations that apply to firewood are often not entirely about the firewood itself, which makes it hard to fully categorize and understand the tangled web of rules and quarantines in North America. During this webinar, the manager of Don’t Move Firewood, Leigh Greenwood, will describe all the different ways in which current regulations criss-cross to create a confusing, and fascinating, regulatory landscape. From Asian longhorned beetle to Arkansas, walnut twig beetle to Wyoming Weed and Pest Control Act, we’ll do our best to accurately represent the scope of a whole continent’s rules and regulations in merely one hour.

  • THIS WEBINAR IS NOW COMPLETE. We had 57 attendees from at least 23 states and provinces on the live webinar.
  • View the recorded presentation on our YouTube Channel here: Special note: the webinar recording briefly shows a blank screen at about 8 minutes and 18 minutes in. Just sit tight, it resolves itself when the webinar clicks over to the next slide. Sorry about that! Not sure what happened.
  • Download a PDF of the Powerpoint slides if desired: DMF-RegsNow2018_1 (8.8MB)  .

Firewood for those in need

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

There is a woman in my town in Maine that is disabled and in need of some firewood. I’m trying to help her out, but don’t know where to start. Can you help?


Trying to Help

Dear Trying to Help,

I’m so glad to see you are  working to help someone in your community. The best place to start is by searching online to see if there are any “Wood Banks” (like a Food Bank) in your area. There are quite a few in Maine so you’d need to figure out if one is close enough to help this person out. If that doesn’t work, I’d suggest asking at your local food bank, churches, or community centers to see if anyone can point you in the right direction. Good luck, and thank you for your kindness to this person.

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!

Cleaning up tree debris in hurricane damaged areas

How to Keep Neighborhood Trees Healthy and Resilient in the Aftermath of Hurricanes

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been taking down countless trees in Texas, Florida, and all the states between them along the Gulf of Mexico. In the aftermath of severe storms like these, trees can get lots of attention and are pointed to as the cause of loss of power and damage to property. However, while some trees do come down in high wind and extreme weather events, the majority of healthy trees survive severe storms, buffer the high winds as the storms come ashore, absorb excess rainfall, and reduce localized flooding.

In the wake of these major storms, it is extremely important to remember that moving storm debris, limbs, and downed trees over long distances can inadvertently spread tree-killing insects to new places. Many areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma are under quarantines that specifically prohibit the long-distance movement of tree-based storm debris (including debris that has been cut into pieces of firewood). These quarantines will depend on exact location, and may include restrictions in place for emerald ash borer, imported fire ants, giant african land snail, and citrus greening (Huanglongbing). The southeastern USA also has widespread infestations of laurel wilt, which is not under federal quarantine but can be transported on storm debris as well.

Storm debris from downed trees and branches should be disposed of using one of the following safer ways: brought to a local solid waste facility (i.e. landfill), brought to a licensed city composting facility, brought to a registered storm debris disposal yard (sometimes called a marshalling yard or area), or used on site for personal firewood. Consult local newspapers and storm information to find out which of the disposal options is best in your area as you get ready to clean up your property.

Tree damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas 2017: Flickr user Welscor, Creative Commons License

For future storm safety, it is especially important to remember that trees planted near homes and roads need to be properly pruned to minimize potential damage and failure, especially near power lines. When planting new trees, it is helpful to select a species that will not grow too tall and interfere with power lines to minimize future damage. As cities look to replant choosing the right tree and putting the right tree in the right place will create a more sustainable—and storm resistant—landscape for years to come.

Despite the damage trees can cause in extreme weather events, healthy trees in urban and suburban areas are important for a safer and cleaner urban infrastructure. Trees provide the many benefits to both people and wildlife in city settings:

  • Improving water quality by minimizing erosion, slowing the flow of precipitation, and minimizing flooding during heavy rain events
  • Mitigating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, regulating local climate by lowering daily temperature variation, and reducing energy expenditure on heating and cooling
  • Providing shade and improving local air quality by removing air pollutants and producing oxygen
  • Creating valuable habitat for wildlife, and shade and a natural environment for city residents

For more information, we recommend visiting:

This blog is based on our popular 2012 blog, The Importance of Trees in Hurricane Sandy

From here to there in New Mexico

Dear Don’t Move Firewood

Can I bring firewood from Albuquerque New Mexico to the Red River area in New Mexico?

Yours, Shannon in the Land of Enchantment

Dear Shannon,

It is legal to bring firewood from Albuquerque to Red River in New Mexico, however, that is well over the suggested distance limit of 50 miles for moving firewood. If it is possible for you to buy local firewood in Red River, or collect firewood in Red River near your destination, that would be better.

Thank you for asking!

For information on New Mexico’s firewood recommendations and regulations, see our New Mexico State Summary

Selling firewood in Tennessee

We love getting questions from you, our readers, on your firewood issues!

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

My husband sells firewood to the people that camp at (US Army Corps administered campground in Tennessee). We are a mile from the camp grounds and get all our wood locally. We season it for 2 years in the sun. Will the people who purchase through us no longer be able to take our firewood into the camp grounds with the new Army Corps firewood rules? Thank you for your help. 

Yours, Beth in Tennessee

Dear Beth,

Yes, the new policy as set by the Army Corps of Engineers in Tennessee is that firewood that is not packaged and stamped as formally certified as heat-treated by USDA APHIS is not permitted within their campgrounds, so your seasoned firewood would not be allowed. I do realize this may be a frustrating policy for a firewood vendor as close are you are to the park. If you are interested in learning how to become a business that sells heat treated firewood, I suggest you contact the USDA APHIS offices in Tennessee to speak with them. Thank you!


Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

Thank you so much for your prompt attention to our question. My husband’s log splitter broke and we don’t want to purchase another one if we can’t sell next year. Now we know. Thanks.

Yours, Beth in Tennessee


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!

Disposing of termite infested firewood

Time for a new installment in our occasional advice column series, Dear Don’t Move Firewood, this time from a homeowner in California!

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

We live in (city removed) near San Diego and discovered today that we have drywood termites living in our firewood, both inside and outside our home. The wood has been there, unused, for 5 or 6 years, and our termite inspector suggested either burning it, or, since the summer is hot enough already, bagging it in strong garbage bags and throwing it out with the usual trash pickup. Is this okay to do? Thank you!

Yours, Benjamin from California

Dear Benjamin,

I am sorry to hear about the termites! I agree with your idea that summer is hot enough without a bonfire, and wildfire risks are also so high this time of year. Yes, you definitely could bag it and throw it out with regular trash pickup if you wanted. As an alternative that is a bit more ecologically friendly, you might be able to get a green waste bin from a local municipal compost or trash service. They would take your firewood and turn it into harmless, termite-free compost, which is probably better than it just taking up space in the landfill. Try searching online for any sort of local business that accepts green waste for mulch, compost, or soil amendments. Good luck, and thank you for asking!