Wyoming Firewood Education for Solar Eclipse Travelers

Guest blog by Ryan DeSantis, Forest Health Program Manager with the Wyoming State Forestry Division

Every year, millions of people travel to Wyoming to experience its outdoor recreation opportunities. This August, an estimated 500,000 additional visitors from out of state will come to Wyoming to view a rare total eclipse of the sun. On August 21, 2017, from approximately 10 AM to 1:30 PM, the eclipse’s 70-mile wide path of totality (the area where the moon will completely cover the sun) will span more than 365 miles across the length of Wyoming: from Jackson at the western edge of the state to Torrington on the eastern border. Wyoming is an ideal place to watch this eclipse due to its wide-open spaces, low light pollution, abundant public lands, and high probability of clear skies.

The Wyoming State Forestry Division has embarked on a partnership with the national Don’t Move Firewood campaign in anticipation that out of state campers might intend to bring their own firewood- not realizing that this has the potential to transport tree-killing insects and diseases into Wyoming forests. This educational campaign consists of billboards and public outreach materials to raise awareness of the need to buy or gather local firewood. Billboards will be located along interstate highways in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado, targeting traffic traveling toward Wyoming. The goal is to alert people prior to entering Wyoming. Additionally, the Wyoming State Forestry Division issued a press release to notify in-state, adjacent out-of-state, and national media outlets about the billboard advertising campaign.

Campers coming to Wyoming to view the eclipse are encouraged to buy firewood near their destination, or plan to collect firewood if that is allowed at their campsite. Every visitor to Wyoming has a role to play in keeping our forests free of invasive forest insects and diseases.

The USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Program helps support Wyoming’s State Cooperative Forestry Programs. Wyoming State Forestry Division is grateful for the funding provided by the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Program that enabled this Don’t Move Firewood advertising campaign. The partnerships between organizations such as the USDA Forest Service and state forestry organizations create such outreach possibilities.

Wyoming’s billboard campaign is slated to run from August 14 to September 11, 2017. Wyoming State Forestry Division has also set up a website to support this effort- for more information, please visit the site: https://sites.google.com/wyo.gov/firewood/home

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Free downloads for Tree Check Month

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!


General Information:

Educational Videos:

Infographics and Handouts:

Fun Outreach Items for Kids:

Past blogs and News Releases:

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.

Social Media Tips:

Choose safer firewood for your Great American Eclipse travel weekend

On Monday August 21st 2017, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible in a roughly 70 mile wide swath (called the path of totality) crossing the entire contiguous United States of America. Millions of travelers are expected to camp out over the weekend so they can be in the best viewing area on Monday morning to see the amazing spectacle of a complete solar eclipse. The Nature Conservancy is asking everyone that plans to use firewood for the solar eclipse celebration weekend to buy local firewood near their destination, bring packaged certified heat treated firewood, or gather their firewood on site if permitted by the campground or landowner.

“Make smart choices for your solar eclipse party; drink plenty of water, bring extra solar eclipse glasses, and buy or collect local firewood.” says Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager for The Nature Conservancy. “Your firewood choices during this solar eclipse celebration can prevent the spread of forest insects and diseases like the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, spongy moth, and others on potentially infested wood.”

The eclipse will first begin at the Oregon coast and will pass over millions of acres of public land where visitors can camp. This total solar eclipse will cover National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in Oregon, the many different National Forests of Idaho, and then will cross into Wyoming directly over Grand Teton National Park. State and federal agencies in these western states are preparing to welcome hundreds of thousands of additional tourists arriving just prior to the eclipse.

“We’re estimating 500,000 additional visitors will come to Wyoming to view this once-in-a-lifetime event,” says Ryan DeSantis, Forest Health Program Manager for the Wyoming State Forestry Division. “If you are planning to have a campfire, please buy firewood near your destination, or plan to collect firewood if that’s allowed at your campsite. Every visitor to Wyoming has a role to play in keeping our forests free of invasive forest insects and diseases.”

As solar eclipse 2017 continues, it will traverse the Great Plains, passing through the heart of Nebraska before covering the far northeastern corner of Kansas. Once in the Eastern United States, the path of totality for the eclipse will cross through the center of both Tennessee and South Carolina, providing amazing camping and viewing opportunities for millions of people throughout the region.

“Eighteen Tennessee State Parks and the entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be in the eclipse’s path of totality on August 21st,” says Trish Johnson, Director of Forest Conservation for the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “Everyone is welcome to experience this amazing phenomenon in our parks and forests – and we’d like to remind folks that they can also play a role in protecting the beauty of the places they’ll visit by purchasing certified- heat treated firewood. Every camper can do their part to protect trees from invasive insects and diseases, so that visitors and residents alike can continue to enjoy the unique beauty of our state for decades to come.”

Many states in the path of the eclipse have regulations on the movement of firewood, with rules varying greatly according to local jurisdictions and pest situations. Some states, parks, and campgrounds prohibit bringing your own firewood unless it is packaged with a certified stamp of heat treatment. Call ahead to check on your specific campground, or find state and federal regulations at the Don’t Move Firewood map, found at www.dontmovefirewood.org/map

Following are tips from the Don’t Move Firewood campaign:

  • The trees cut for firewood in your backyard or town often died due to insects or diseases. Don’t spread pests such as the emerald ash borer – don’t move firewood. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, buy certified heat treated firewood, or gather firewood on site if permitted.
  • Aged or seasoned wood is not considered safe to move, as some pests can infest stacked firewood at any time. Certified heat treated bundled firewood is a safer option if you must transport firewood.
  • Firewood cannot be deemed safe just by looking at it. Even firewood that looks “clean” could still harbor tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungal spores that could start a new and deadly infestation of forest pests.
  • Tell your friends and others about the risks of moving firewood – no one wants to be responsible for starting a new pest infestation.

For more information on the Great American Eclipse, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov


NOTE TO OUR PARTNERS IN FIREWOOD EDUCATION: This blog was written with the express intent of providing ideas and quotes that you can use in your own outreach efforts. You are free to use portions of this blog for your own needs in firewood education. Please do not alter any part of the three direct quotes without prior written permission. Please refer to the Don’t Move Firewood campaign in your release, and include either https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/, https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/map, or https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/choose-safer-firewood-great-american-eclipse-travel-weekend as a reference. If you have questions about attribution, please email the Don’t Move Firewood staff via our Contact Us page.


Is Offering FREE Firewood a Viable Solution for Pest Prevention?

Guest blog by Mary Ann Bonnell, Visitor Services Manager for Jefferson County Open Space, Colorado.

Is Offering FREE Firewood a Viable Solution for Pest Prevention?

It’s working for Jefferson County Open Space in Colorado. In fact, the Jeffco Open Space (JCOS) free firewood program is setting up its visitors for success while managing healthy parks. Any time a camper reserves one of our campsites at three campground locations, they are notified of park regulations and informed they will have free firewood provided at the kiosk. This is seen as a win-win for our forests and campers alike.

By providing free campfire wood at each campground, we are ensuring the wood is sourced locally and not brought from unknown locations or collected illegally from the surrounding park areas. The wood comes directly from one of the 29 parks which are strategically monitored and managed by Jeffco Open Space Forestry Professionals who thin stands, perform fire mitigation and harvest infested trees when appropriate. Some of the forest pests we manage for include mountain pine beetle and dwarf mistletoe.

Following required dry time, the logs are repurposed for fencing, trail maintenance and firewood. Often times, surplus wood is offered to the community at an annual firewood sale, furthering the impact of buying and burning locally sourced firewood.

Through this program, we can better regulate where firewood comes from while continuing to manage healthy and resilient forests. In addition, it gives us a positive platform to remind visitors about fire safety, putting your campfire “Dead Out” and preventing the spread of invasive pests. Signs and messages are visibly posted and heavily emphasized to all campers who often thank us for the service and education.

Press Release: Preserve Fall Color – Don’t Move Firewood

Press Release for October 8, 2014

Preserve Fall Color – Don’t Move Firewood

Leaf watchers may unwittingly transport bug invaders

Fall is a busy time in the Southern Blue Ridge, with thousands of leaf peepers traveling to see the annual display. But, that beautiful foliage could be destroyed by visitors who bring firewood from outside the area. That’s because forest pests love nothing better than catching a fast ride on infested firewood.

“The fall tourist season is important to our economy,” says Trish Johnson, Director of Forest Conservation for the Tennessee Chapter of the Conservancy. “We need to keep our forest healthy to keep the tourists coming. It’s sad to think that some of the very people who are coming here to enjoy the leaves may be unwittingly bringing the very thing that will destroy those leaves.”

The Nature Conservancy and its conservation partners, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service as well as state agencies across the Southern Blue Ridge, are working to educate the public about the need to use downed local wood that is gathered on site or buy wood that has been heat treated, killing potential pests.

“We’re trying to combat the rapid spread of tree-destroying pests,” says Johnson. “Naturally, these bugs don’t move very fast – just a mile or so a year. But, put a person in a car bringing their firewood to the Smokies and those pests can travel hundreds of miles in a day. Everything we can do to stop and slow the spread of these bugs is a good thing for our forests.”

Research shows that infestations of pests such as the emerald ash borer, which kills ash trees, often start at campgrounds. The likely culprit is people accidentally bringing in contaminated firewood. Many other pests of heightened concern, like the Asian longhorned beetle and spongy moth, can also hitchhike on firewood- posing risks to iconic fall foliage trees like the crimson red maples, rich golden oaks, and many more.

The Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has developed a web site to help people locate vendors of the certified heat-treated wood: firewoodscout.org

Information about the risk of moving firewood can be found at www.dontmovefirewood.org

More information about specific insect and disease threats to Tennessee’s forests, as well as management options and quarantine regulations, can be found at www.ProtectTNForests.org

More information about specific insect and disease threats to North Carolina’s forests, as well as monitoring information, can be found at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/forest_health/forest_health.htm

Upswing in Asian Spongy Moth populations seen in native range

There are no known permanently established populations of Asian spongy moth (Lymantria dispar asiatica) in North America– but in order to keep the continent free of this pest, it is critical for forest health professionals to learn about its current status.


Recent reports from USDA APHIS and US Customs and Border Protection indicate that Asian spongy moth populations are in a general cyclical upswing in their native range of Russia and Japan. This means that the chance that this moth is accidentally brought to North America on shipping container surfaces is higher than usual- which in turn means that Western port communities need to be on high alert.


“Asian Spongy Moth activity was anticipated to be high at the beginning of the 2014 season, and is anticipated to be yet higher in 2015. At this point we have seen high populations in both Russia and Japan. USDA APHIS is receiving regular reports from these countries to monitor the situation. The busy season for AGM is from June through September, and at this point in the 2014 season Customs and Border Protection has inspected approximately 1600 vessels and found four vessels in US ports with positive AGM egg masses – all from Japanese ports of origin. The Japanese inspection companies have had removed adult moths or egg masses from 82 ships in 44 different Japanese ports during pre-departure procedures. The success rate of the inspection companies in Japan, for ships bound for North America, is over 99%.” William Wesela, Asian spongy Moth Program Director, USDA APHIS PPQ.


Knowing that these egg masses are making it to North American ports, even if extremely rarely, underscores the high importance of looking for and reporting possible individual moths, egg cases, or infestations of any spongy moths outside of the known infested area in Eastern US and Canada (official map here) – especially in Western port cities. Spongy moths (of both the Asian and European types) can be and have been eradicated when found in isolated infestations, and the key to eradication is rapid detection of each isolated new spongy moth population. While the Asian spongy moth looks incredibly similar to the European spongy moth, it is different because of two key aspects: the wider range of tree species it can destroy, and the female adult moths can fly (unlike the European spongy moth, whose females are flightless). This makes detecting potential infestations of Asian spongy moth incredibly important to the health of North American trees.
asian gypsy moth shown with moth trap in Russia

Russian official observing Asian spongy moth trap with high local moth densities in Olga, Russia. Credit: USDA APHIS PPQ (ed. note: all the white specks are individual Asian spongy moths)


One of the most important tenets of Don’t Move Firewood is to be proactive with precaution. We often get questions on our e-hotline like “Can I move some seasoned old firewood? Any bugs must be long gone, right?” and our response is always the same “No, please don’t, it might harbor pests like spongy moths.” Spongy moths, in particular, can infest firewood or lumber scraps regardless of how long the wood was aged– and their egg cases can look very much like an otherwise innocent little patch of mold.


Western North American port communities, especially those receiving a lot of shipments from Japan and Russia (such as Long Beach, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver), need to include Asian spongy moth in their forest pest outreach programs and materials. Teaching the public about the importance of looking for spongy moths, and not moving firewood, is critical to finding pests like these early enough to launch a successful eradication program. Just because you don’t have a recorded quarantine does NOT mean that you might not have a small unknown infestation in your community.


Here are resources on the topics of Asian Spongy Moth and European Spongy Moth






Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Press Release by Montana Department of Agriculture

Here’s an excellent example of a press release provided this morning by the Montana Department of Agriculture for Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 19, 2014


Emerald Ash Borer: Ash Tree Killer

Invasive Pest Could Decimate Ash Trees in Montana Cities and Urban Areas

Helena, Mont. – In an ongoing effort to increase awareness of the threat of emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, the Montana Department of Agriculture is tagging ash trees that are at risk if the invasive pest is discovered within the state.  The tagging and awareness efforts will coincide with Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week from May 19 – 25, 2014.

“Tens of millions of ash trees are dying across the country from the emerald ash borer.  While it has not been detected in Montana, our ash trees are at still at risk, especially now that EAB was discovered in Boulder, Colorado last year.   Preventing the spread of the emerald ash borer from other states with known infestation and early detection will help stave off the worst impacts,” explained Ian Foley, pest management program manager for agriculture.

Capitol grounds crews and department of agriculture specialists identified ash trees in and around the State Capitol, and marked those at risk with a green tag that states: ‘THIS ASH TREE IS AT RISK OF BEING KILLED BY THE EMERALD ASH BORER.’ The tag directs people to www.emeraldashborer.info for information on the pest and management options and www.dontmovefirewood.org for information on the transportation of EAB.


“Ash trees make up roughly 30% of the public trees in Montana’s urban forests,” according to Jamie Kirby, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation urban forestry program manager. “The potential impacts from this pest cannot be ignored – millions of dollars of ash trees are at risk.  Our best case scenario is early detection with collaborative efforts, frequent sampling and monitoring for signs of the emerald ash borer.”

For example, the city of Helena has around 6,900 ash trees that are at risk.

“The Montana Urban and Community Forestry Association (MUCFA) was the first western group to promote an ash branch sampling methodology recommended by Canadian Forest Service research.  We have to be diligent to ensure we find EAB earlier than Colorado did if we are going to have a chance to contain its spread,” said Patrick Plantenberg, chair of the association.  It was estimated that EAB had been present in Colorado for several years before it was officially detected.

The emerald ash borer spreads slowly on its own, rarely flying more than a mile from where it hatches in its lifetime.  When accidentally transported by people, it can travel hundreds of miles in a single day.  Infested firewood is the most common source of new infestations.  Infested nursery stock, and wooden packaging may also harbor EAB larvae.

Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood National Manager with The Nature Conservancy said, “We want people to know that when they visit Montana from out of state, they should not be bringing firewood with them. It is just not worth risking millions of dollars in damage to save a few bucks on your bundle of firewood. Montana has plenty of locally harvested firewood for sale, or visitors are welcome to gather firewood near their campsites whenever it is allowed.”

The green tags will be prominent on ash trees throughout the week.  Other cities interested in coordinating an education and outreach effort in their community should contact the department’s pest management bureau at (406) 444-9454.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.  For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.

Getting ready for Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week!

May is a great month to get the word out about forest pests- and this year it brings the 10th annual Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week! The week is May 18th to 24th, 2014 and is planned and organized by the fine people at USDA APHIS. States all around the US will be issuing proclamations, press releases, and more. Here's a few ideas to get you going on your own outreach materials to work with this great effort!





Look for signs of invasive forest pests during Great Backyard Bird Count 2014

NEWS RELEASE — For Immediate Release

Contact: Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager

Download PDF version of this press release at https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/resources/Great-Backyard-Bird-Count-2014


 Looking for signs of insect or disease damage in backyard trees and shrubs during the annual bird count can help preserve vital wildlife habitats.

Arlington, VA—February 7, 2014— Bird watchers participating in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14 to 17 2014, are encouraged by The Nature Conservancy to look for and report signs of tree pests like the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and other invasive insects and diseases. During the bird count, participants simply watch birds at any location for at least 15 minutes, tally the numbers of each species they see, and report their tallies online. Scientists at The Nature Conservancy want Great Backyard Bird Count participants to know that they should take a few extra moments to look at the birds’ habitats for signs of invasive forest insects and diseases.

“Trees and forests are an essential part of our lives, and they provide clean air and water, jobs and products, and vital wildlife habitat.  From tree-lined neighborhood streets to national parks, we count on trees to provide benefits today and for generations to come,” says Bill Toomey, Director of Forest Health Protection for The Nature Conservancy. “That’s why it’s critical for everyone to be aware of the trees around them and take simple actions to help protect them- such as looking for and reporting signs of insects or diseases.”

Many of the forest pests and diseases that affect trees can be stopped or slowed if they are found and treated early enough by the proper authorities. The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Cities, Healthy Trees program and Don’t Move Firewood campaign, along with many state and federal agencies nationwide, are especially encouraging bird watchers to look for potential signs of forest pests while enjoying the Great Backyard Bird Count this year.

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is an ideal opportunity for bird watchers to check the trees for signs of invasive pests like Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer,” said Jennifer Forman Orth, State Plant Pest Survey Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. “The damage from these insects can easily be seen in winter, when there are no leaves on the trees, and birdwatchers are typically armed with a pair of binoculars that will help them check high-up branches for the perfectly round holes left by Asian longhorned beetles in maples and other hardwoods, or the increased woodpecker activity and removal of bark (“blonding”) caused by excessive woodpecker activity associated with emerald ash borer infestations in ash trees.”

Birdwatchers can download the new Birdwatcher’s Short Field Guide to Holes in Trees, found at https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/resources/birdwatchers-guide-holes-trees/  to help them learn the differences between holes made by typical woodpecker and sapsucker foraging, holes made by woodpeckers seeking invasive insect larvae, and holes caused by the invasive insects themselves.

Participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count should report any suspicious damage or signs of forest pests as soon as they have concluded entering their bird data. Bird watchers are encouraged to take digital photos of any damage observed, identify the species of tree with the damage if possible, and then report findings using websites, state hotlines, or phone apps such as those found at https://apps.bugwood.org/healthytrees/ .

For more information on regionally and nationally important invasive forest pests, and how to report potential signs of infestation, please refer to the websites below.


Download PDF version of Holes in Trees https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/resources/birdwatchers-guide-holes-trees/

Download PDF version of this press release at https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/resources/Great-Backyard-Bird-Count-2014


To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities program go to https://healthytreeshealthycities.org . To learn more about Don’t Move Firewood, visit https://www.DontMoveFirewood.org .


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit us on the Web at www.nature.org.


Tree Check Month for Asian longhorned Beetle

Did you know that August has been the first ever Tree Check Month? Yup- organized by the great folks over at USDA APHIS, Tree Check Month is an effort to get everyone to take ten minutes to look at their backyard trees, and look for pests or damage on those trees.

Want to participate? Here’s a short list of resources if you want to check your trees for Asian longhorned beetle or other tree pests:


This weekend you should take a moment to go outside, take a look at your trees, and if you see any signs that they might be infested with Asian longhorned beetles, report it here!