Dear Don’t Move Firewood from Wisconsin

An alert citizen in Wisconsin posted a great question to Don’t Move Firewood today;

Dear Don’t Move Firewood,

I own a farm in (town removed) Wisconsin and 40 acres of wood was blown down in the July storms. I would like to bring the oak to my home in (town removed) Minnesota to burn, is that alright to do?


Dan from Minnesota

Dear Dan,

I hate to tell you, but this is a really bad idea on a two levels.

Most importantly in terms of a simple answer, it is often illegal to move hardwood firewood across state and county lines in this particular region of the country. I can’t give you any firm legal advice because I don’t know the route you’d take, and I’d hate to get you in trouble if I was wrong, but I must say this really puts you at a serious potential liability.

Secondly, this isn’t a good idea because your farm is in the midst of a great sea of potential invaders. You probably know that oaks don’t carry emerald ash borer (if they did, we’d name them emerald oak borer) but there are several species of both native and invasive insects in the midwest that do infest and kill oaks. Your worst nightmare is taking this wood from your place in Wisconsin- where unbeknownst to you it had some serious insect infestation- and bringing that infestation to Minnesota where it will destroy your trees, your property value, and potentially (eventually) all the trees for hundreds of miles.

I know this sounds apocalyptic, but it isn’t outlandish. It happens all the time with other pests, and of course nobody would ever do this on purpose.

A much better thing to do is to use the wood on site in Wisconsin, or give it to neighboring residents or farms that are less than 10 miles away. You could take it as an opportunity to help the less fortunate, if you can donate the wood to a neighbor that really needs it.

Thanks for asking, and I’m sorry the answer is no- but like I said, it really puts you at risk to move that wood!