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What you should know about transporting firewood this season

Invasive pests and diseases can lurk on the surface or within wood products, and if transported could cause the decline of forestry across the state.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — It may still be on the warm side, but it's never too early to think about passing the time with a cozy bonfire! Or perhaps, you're ready to light your home's fireplace to save on heating and electricity going forward? 

Well, it's important to take note of the wood you are using for these wintertime staples.

You may not realize it but invasive pests or diseases, often undetected by the naked eye, can lurk inside or on the surface of wood.  

“It’s important to remember that just because you can’t see anything 'wrong' with the wood, that doesn’t mean it’s not harboring something that could be a terrible problem for forest health,” said Ryan Reed, natural resource program specialist of the Bureau of Forestry Communications with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.    

The emerald ash borer, and hemlock wolly adelgid have caused the decline of their respective trees. Reed says that other pests like the spotted lantern fly’s eggs could also be carried to a new locale through your bundle of wood.  

“You think of the average person, they may simply want to cut some wood to have an outdoor fire at home, potentially an indoor fire for warming, even transporting wood fifty, sixty, [or] one hundred miles can be problematic,” said Reed.   

When looking for this season’s supply, be very careful where you buy.  

Major producers of wood that you may find at a hardware or grocery store, are usually okay to transport. These products are treated through kiln drying, which sanitizes the product before use.   

Roadside stands, however, don’t normally use this technique. Reed recommends that you purchase or cut wood, where you're intending to burn it.

"It’s not considered good practice to move, wood products over long distances. And especially if you do not burn it at that site and on that particular occasion," he said.

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