Why you shouldn't move firewood between Michigan counties

(Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay)

Firewood can harbor diseases or invasive insects.

Often, invasive species are moved to new areas by people. Infested plants and wood both allow for insects to relocate to areas where they weren't before.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved with firewood. Some of these are in Michigan, while others that haven't made it to the state yet have been found in states close by.

Read: Keep an eye out for the invasive spotted lanternfly in Michigan

Invasive pests and diseases can destroy trees and other plants. For example, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in West Michigan lost more than 1,000 trees due to oak wilt.

More than 1,000 trees have been removed from the campground at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon due to an infestation of oak wilt.

"Michigan’s beautiful fall foliage, recreational spaces, timber and landscape trees are at risk from invasive tree pests and diseases," said Susannah Iott, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development invasive species program specialist. "Infestations can destroy forests, lower property values, and cost huge sums of money to control."

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Because of how damaging diseases and invasive species can be, it is important to not move firewood around the state to prevent the spread.

Infographic provided by The Nature Conservancy.

If you are traveling and plan to have a fire, buy the firewood where you will be burning it or collect it from the area. When possible, buy heat-treated wood.

"The best way to protect forests and landscape trees is to use locally sourced firewood or wood certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as heat-treated to kill pests and diseases," Iott said. "This takes the guesswork out of determining if wood is infested with insects or infected with disease."