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The beauty and productivity of North Carolina's forests is threatened by non-native plants, animals and diseases that can make it to the state in many ways. One common but often overlooked way that these invasive species make it into the state's parks, forests, and private campgrounds is through the movement of firewood.

Some invasive insects, such as the European spongy moth can lay eggs on pieces of firewood. Others, such as the emerald ash borer, Sirex woodwasp, the Asian longhorned beetle, redbay ambrosia beetle, walnut twig beetle and common pine shoot beetle spend parts of their life-cycle within wood and can emerge from firewood as adults ready to infest new trees. A few of these insects are associated with devastating tree diseases such as laurel wilt (redbay ambrosia beetle) and thousand cankers disease (walnut twig beetle).

You can help prevent the spread of these dangerous invasive species by using local firewood. A good rule of thumb is to burn wood within a 50 mile radius of its origin. Additionally, you should not bring firewood into North Carolina from another state unless it has been treated to kill pests, and / or inspected or certified as pest free. If firewood has inadvertently been brought into the state, or has been moved long distances within the state, make sure it is burned as soon as possible. Never leave unused firewood behind at the burn site.

The use of local firewood is an important factor in preventing the spread of potentially devastating invasive species to our state's forests. Please keep this in mind as you prepare for your outdoor recreation activities: The health of our forests depends on it!

This page updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 13:00

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