A new Vermont rule effective May 1st prevents invasive insects from piggybacking into the state on untreated firewood. As summer camping season arrives, visitors to Vermont should be prepared to buy firewood in-state or be able to verify that imported firewood is heat-treated to USDA-approved standards.
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation already urges all campers and homeowners to purchase wood locally. The new rule strengthens protection of Vermont’s forests by reducing the likelihood that invasive pests and pathogens, such as the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, will enter the state.
Firewood is defined as any tree species processed for burning and less than four feet in length. Out-of-state firewood vendors can supply visitors to Vermont with certified heat-treated wood. However, if the wood is harvested outside of Vermont but near the border and is not restricted by other quarantines, vendors or other firewood users can request in writing to the commissioner that the heat-treatment requirement be waived.
Emerald ash borer, not yet detected in Vermont, has been found in 25 other states and two Canadian provinces, including Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Quebec. Vermont has over 100 million ash trees which will be threatened by this tree-killing insect when it arrives in Vermont. Other regulations already exist to prohibit transportation of logs from areas under quarantine for emerald ash borer.
In Vermont, firewood can be purchased at state parks, at many private campgrounds, and in nearby communities. “Most people understand that this new rule exists to protect the health of Vermont’s forests,” said Michael Snyder, Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. “Buying local firewood reduces the risk of unknowingly spreading destructive insects. It’s something we can all do to protect the forest.”
Out-of-state campers, second homeowners, and others who wish to transport firewood into Vermont must have a receipt or label certifying that the wood has been heat-treated to a core temperature of 160° F for at least 75 minutes at a certified treatment facility. This USDA standard treatment kills any insects or microorganisms concealed in the wood. The Agency of Natural Resources has the legal authority to confiscate and destroy non-compliant firewood.
Questions or requests for a waiver can also be addressed to Barbara Schultz, Forest Health Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.