State agency: Moving firewood can spread invasive species

Associated Press

Lansing – State officials are reminding Michigan residents as the summer camping season begins not to transport or move firewood because doing so can spread invasive species to other locations.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says new infestations of invasive pests or diseases pose a serious threat to the state’s agriculture, forests and the environment.

"Never assume wood appearing uninfested is safe to move," says Mike Philip, director of the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management.

Invasive species can hide in or on firewood. They threaten native tree species that don’t have natural defenses against them or diseases.

“As camping resumes this year, we urge all campers to look to purchase firewood at the state park campgrounds, rather than bring wood with you,” said Jason Fleming, chief of resource protection and promotion in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division.

Officials said that infestations of invasive species or diseases can destroy forests, lower property values and be costly to control.

They add that it is nearly impossible to detect diseases, like thousand cankers disease, which affects walnut trees or oak wilt in oak trees, just by looking at the wood.