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Firewood can harbor many different kinds of invasive pests and diseases that are harmful to Wisconsin's trees in both forest and urban settings. Gypsy moth, oak wilt, and emerald ash borer hitchhike on firewood
, to name just a few, making their way easily into previously unaffected, healthy areas. This poses a serious threat to trees throughout the state.
Although it is still legal to move firewood in certain areas, it is almost always a bad idea to do so. Moving firewood can put the trees at your destination at risk.
If you have an EAB infested tree that you would like to use as firewood, please note:
- EAB larvae in a downed tree can survive and emerge from the firewood pile for up to two years.
- Wait until late autumn to take down an infested tree and be sure to use up all of the wood from that tree by spring.
- If you cannot use all of the wood in one winter season, you are better off leaving the infested tree standing through summer. Then follow guidelines for wood utilization
when finally taking the tree down. Firewood Restrictions on all DNR Properties
To protect our parks and forests from firewood hitchhikers, the Wisconsin DNR created a permanent rule which prohibits bringing firewood onto any DNR properties from more than 25 miles away or from outside of Wisconsin.This map indicates a 25-mile radius around each of Wisconsin's state parks. Select your park from the drop-down menu, then press "GO." (NOTE: Some park maps may not yet be ready for viewing. Check back soon.)Emerald ash borer and firewood restrictions
In addition, state and federal laws forbid moving hardwood firewood out of emerald ash borer quarantined areas.
Currently, this means hardwood firewood that has been stored, purchased, or harvested in the following areas may not be moved out of these areas in Wisconsin: Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. A federal quarantine also prohibits the movement of hardwood firewood out of all or parts of more than a dozen other states and parts of Canada. This map
shows the most current national and international quarantines.Quarantine Violations
If firewood from a quarantined county enters a DNR managed property in a non-quarantined county, regardless of whether it is within 25 miles, it will be confiscated. State and federal fines up to $1,000.00 apply for violations of firewood quarantines.What is Acceptable Firewood?
Firewood purchased within 25 miles of a state forest, park, or other state-managed property.
AND harvested in Wisconsin.
AND NOT purchased, harvested or stored in, or transported through a quarantined county of Wisconsin. These include: Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Vernon, Washington and Waukesha Counties.
Firewood from a vendor that is certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Learn more about this certification program, available to firewood manufacturers, and view a list of certified vendors.
Dimensional and untreated lumber scraps, such as 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s. How Does the DNR Firewood Rule Affect My Camping Trip?
Across Wisconsin, campers are encouraged to take some simple steps to help ensure the healthy future of the state's parks, forests, and trees.
Leave firewood at home and purchase aged firewood near or within your campground. Most parks offer quality firewood for sale at a reasonable price by the park's friends group. If you choose to purchase firewood within these parks, know that proceeds return to the park's budget and pay for things like educational programs, buildings and picnic shelters, seasonal naturalists and needed equipment. Private sellers often have firewood available for sale just outside of the park as well. For firewood availability at your destination, contact the park directly.
Firewood purchased at or near your destination should be used during your camping vacation. Do not leave any unused wood behind and do not take it with you to another destination.
When buying firewood, make sure you receive pieces that are dry and have either no bark or bark that is loose (a sign that the wood is very dry). Not only will this reduce the threat of spreading diseases, your fire will be easier to start.
Reduce your need for open fire by cooking over gas or charcoal. Instead of an evening campfire, explore new night-time activities like star-gazing or viewing wildlife by flashlight.
If you are a camper from outside of Wisconsin, please do not bring firewood with you. It will be confiscated and if the wood is from a quarantined area, you could be violating a federal law that forbids moving wood of any kind out of your state or county of residence. Be aware, if you transport firewood from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, or lower Michigan, you can be liable for federal fines up to $1,000.00.
If you are a camper from Wisconsin, please do not bring firewood that has been stored, purchased, harvested, or moved through (with stops longer than necessary to re-fuel your vehicle) counties under quarantine for EAB to properties outside of those counties.
It will be confiscated and you would be violating state law.
If you are bringing firewood from elsewhere in Wisconsin, please only use firewood from a Wisconsin source within 25 miles of where you will use it.
Ideally, purchase firewood from within the campground where you are staying, as that wood is often cut on site and sold by groups who reinvest earnings in the same park.
If you purchase your firewood outside of the park but within a non-quarantined area of Wisconsin, near the campground you are visiting, please have a receipt ready to show proof of that purchase.Firewood Restrictions on Other Properties
A number of Wisconsin county parks and campgrounds as well as private campgrounds have restrictions that mirror the state rule banning firewood from out of state or from more than 25 miles away. Municipalities may also have ordinances restricting firewood on public or other property.
Overall statewide firewood restrictions based on emerald ash borer and gypsy moth quarantines as of October 2012.
Firewood Movement in Wisconsin.pdf
Counties quarantined for EAB.
Wisconsin DNR's new "25 mile" rule for firewood restrictions on state parks.
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People camping at Wisconsin State Parks and Forests are allowed to bring scrap lumber for campfires. Dimensional lumber scraps, such as 2x4 or 4x6 scraps from a building project, will be allowed on the property upon the discretion of park staff. Lumber is fully dried and debarked before it can be used in building, which means it cannot harbor pests and diseases of living trees like raw wood or logs can.
Firewood logs are allowed on state properties only if the wood was harvested in Wisconsin and within 25 miles of the campground where it will be burned, and NOT from, harvested or stored in, or transported through a quarantined county.
Minimally processed wood such as full or partial pallets, skids, or slabs are still prohibited from entering state properties under the DNR rule and will be confiscated if the wood was harvested beyond 25 miles from the campground or from out-of-state, or was harvested, stored or transported through a quarantined county within Wisconsin. Pallets and slabs are cut wood, but they can be fresh enough or have enough attached bark that they can harbor pests or diseases.
Please know that toxins are released when wood that is painted, treated with preservatives, or made up of a composite of wood and glue such as chipboard and plywood is burned and this is a serious health hazard. This type of wood will not be allowed to be burned on DNR property.
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