The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) encourages Kansans who use firewood to heat their homes to consider using local firewood to help prevent the spread of tree diseases and pests.
While it may seem harmless on the surface, transporting firewood can pose a threat to healthy, pest-free trees across the state of Kansas. Tree-killing insects and diseases can lurk in what appears to be harmless firewood. Even if the exterior of the firewood appears to be healthy, microscopic fungal spores or pin-head sized insect eggs could be lurking in the wood. These pests and diseases can emerge before the wood is burned and infest trees in additional locations.
KDA recommends avoiding long distance transportation of untreated firewood due to the threat of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Thousand Cankers Disease of walnut, and Pine Wilt. Douglas, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties all prohibit the transportation of hardwood firewood out of the contiguous boundary of their county borders to help prevent the spread of EAB. This insect disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, causing it to die. EAB and other harmful diseases, including Thousand Cankers of Walnut and Pine Wilt are of concern to homeowners and foresters. Jeff Vogel, KDA Plant Protection and Weed Control program manager, says Kansas citizens play an important role in helping to slow the movement of these pests and diseases.
“It is imperative to take initiative when moving firewood,” said Vogel. “Preventing destructive pests is important not only for the health of our trees, but also for our economy.”
The United States Forest Service estimates that from 2009 to 2019 the response to eliminating the EAB will cost as much as $10.7 billion.
KDA is committed to serving Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses, and to protecting the state’s natural resources. To learn more about the facts and general information of firewood transportation, visit http://agriculture.ks.gov/divisions-programs/plant-protect-weed-control/firewood.