Don't Move Firewood

Why is moving firewood a problem?

Georgia Forestry Commission Forest Health experts say moving firewood has been linked to the spread of destructive, non-native insects and diseases to forest ecosystems. While these pests can't move far on their own, they can travel hundreds of miles when people move firewood, logs, chips, and mulch. Forest pests can kill our native trees and be very expensive, if not impossible, to control.

Many species of hardwood and pine trees serve as potential hosts for these destructive pests, so no firewood is considered safe to be moved long distances. Non-native organisms can wreak havoc on the environment. They are often resistant to natural controls and can spread unchecked, resulting in much greater harm to our forests than is experienced with native pests.Tiny, non-native insects and their larvae, and even microscopic fungus spores can hide in firewood that is transported by visitors into campsites and parks. They can fall unnoticed to the ground on a small chip of bark, or washed off the firewood from a sudden rainstorm.

What can you do?

To combat the threat and spread of non-native pests and diseases, campers visiting Georgia are asked to leave their firewood at home and purchase local wood. If wood has been inadvertently brought into camp, it should be burned on-site or turned over to park officials.

What are some pests threatening Georgia's forests?

Georgia is currently battling a non-native insect known as the redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) that has been spread by the movement of firewood. It has killed millions of our native Redbay trees (Persea borbonia), and is also killing our native Sassafras (Sassafras albidum).

Other non-native threats to Georgia's forests include the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), and sirex woodwasp (Sirex noctilio). These pests are already established in the northeastern portion of the United States and could spread into Georgia through the movement of firewood. The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) has spread by eggs laid on firewood.