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!

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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.

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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!

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.

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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 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!

Firewood from Ohio to Maine

The Dear Don’t Move Firewood advice column is back, with real questions from real people (often slightly edited to ensure they are anonymous).

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

I’m going camping in another state which is Maine. I’m from Ohio. Can I take wood for camp fires from my own wood pile?

Yours, Bruce from Ohio

Dear Bruce,

It is illegal to take any out of state firewood into Maine, as per Maine state law. It is also violation of the emerald ash borer (EAB) federal quarantine to take it from Ohio (inside the EAB quarantine area) into Maine (which is outside the EAB quarantine area). Last but not least, in general, the rule of thumb is not to move firewood more than 50 miles- and it is a lot more than 50 miles from Ohio to Maine.

Instead of bringing firewood from your own wood pile in Ohio, please plan to buy wood after your arrival in Maine, ideally near your camping destination. Thank you!

For more information on Maine’s firewood laws, please visit our Maine State Summary page


Firewood with BEETLES coming out of it!

Dear Don't Move Firewood,

I bought firewood from a grocery store in the Seattle area and when I cut it to make some kindling BEETLES came out of it! What should I do to let someone know? The wood came from (a distributor out of state) and they should be ashamed of themselves for selling infested wood!!!


Concerned Kindling Cutter

Dear Kindling Cutter,

I agree that is disturbing, and that you should report it. I suggest looking up the Washington Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, and calling them to ask for help. Most states have a Plant Protection staff person within their Department of Agriculture that is able to assist on these things. In your case the the contact list for the Washington Department of Agriculture is online here– I suggest trying the "PLANT PROTECTION General Information" number as your starting point.

If that doesn't work, you can also call the USDA APHIS State Plant Health Director's office for your state if you are having trouble with reaching someone at the local Department of Agriculture. Thank you for your attention to firewood safety!

Firewood from elsewhere to my neighborhood?

Dear Don't Move Firewood,

I have a neighbor cutting up trees that he brings from another location in his driveway, that he then sells as firewood. We are in the middle of town, so not only is there a lot of noise, but I am worried he's bringing emerald ash borers or other bugs into our area. Is there anything I can do to find out if there are any issues with this? (question lightly edited for clarity)

Yours, Concerned Resident


Dear Concerned Resident,

That sounds like an annoying, and possibly illegal, activity for a residential neighborhood. Let's address the question of "emerald ash borers or other bugs" first. Without knowing where you live, I suggest you go to our Don't Move Firewood State Summary Map (, select your state, and figure out what pests might be quarantined or otherwise regulated in your state. All the state summaries have a collection of pertinent infestation or quarantine maps at the bottom. Keep in mind that an area under quarantine often (although not always) allows for movement within the quarantine boundary. However, it is also possible that your state's regulations, town's urban forestry department, tree manager, or city parks department has stricter rules- so you'll want to call them to ask.

The separate question of noise and possibly illegal use of a residential property for this activity isn't trivial. I'm not an expert on this one, but you might be able to call your town or city's zoning department to figure out if they are doing something against the law. Best of luck!

Yours, Don't Move Firewood team


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Firewood from Colorado to California?

Dear Don't Move Firewood,

Can I bring Aspen firewood to California?  All the firewood was cut from dead Aspen trees in (not Boulder county) Colorado. If I can, do I need a letter showing authorization?

Yours, Concerned Coloradoan


Dear Concerned Coloradoan,

It is not a good idea to take Aspen firewood, or any firewood, from your land in Colorado to California. If you lived in Boulder County, it would be illegal due to the presence of the emerald ash borer federal quarantine. However, you don't- so while it is not strictly speaking illegal- it is not a good idea and poses a real risk to the trees of California. You don't need a letter, but you also shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

It is entirely possible that insects native to Colorado but not otherwise found in California could emerge and infest the trees in and around your destination in Colorado, causing problems for years to come. For instance, scientists around the West are concerned about Aspen decline, which is very poorly understood and kills aspen trees. You would not want to be the person that introduces this tree issue into the state of California! I suggest you use the Aspen firewood at or near your home in Colorado, and either cut or purchase firewood in California near where you will use it in that state.

I also posed this question to my colleagues in California and they agreed- it would be highly preferred if you made the choice to not move firewood into California from Colorado. Just because it isn't illegal, strictly speaking, does not mean it is something without significant risk to tree health.



Don't Move Firewood team


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