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Buying Firewood From Certified Vendors

Some things in life are obvious and we learned many of them as children. For instance, don’t put your hand near fire, it will burn. Or, look both ways before crossing the road so you will not get hit. These small life lessons, plus dozens of other ones that are common sense, make routine life matters or fun new activities a breeze, unless there are rules you don’t know about.

Such is the case for many people who are new to camping, outdoor activities, or being more self-sufficient in building a home fire. The wood you are grabbing to load up and take on the road for your camping trip or to power your home, might just be a problem. The same is true if you’ve started chopping your own firewood.

These things seem pretty simple. Buy some wood and burn it, right? There is actually more to it than that. Did you know untreated firewood could cause home, building and environmental damage?

Before You Buy

Before you buy and burn wood, you want to check to make sure the firewood vendor you are purchasing from is certified. If not, there is no telling where the wood came from and what’s in it, so you could be putting your home, restaurant or region in jeopardy. If you are planning to transport wood and do not buy it from a certified source or get it treated, then you could be breaking the law.

This is because numerous states have established policies and guidelines created by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, or a similar agency, to protect regions and states from nature’s invasive insect species.

These insects may seem like a small matter but they can wreak big time damage when transported into a new region and habitat. Local, state and federal governments spend in excess of $100 million per year trying to eradicate the infestation and environmental impacts that result from the introduction of these insects to new places. To prevent further spread of these species and the nuisances they can cause, states require that you purchase bundled firewood locally from a certified source.

The firewood that unsuspecting campers and commercial users, like restaurants, buy and transport is the number one way these insects hitch a ride. They travel slowly on their own but can make quick progress when they are easily and quickly carried in firewood from one area, region or state to the next.

You can check your state’s regulations on firewood treatment by calling the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Conservation, or similar agency within the state, to request information or an e-mail with a link with the latest regulatory information. Or you can leave the expertise and headaches up to a qualified firewood vendor by checking their website to verify that they are able to sell you safe and treated firewood. Just look for confirmation that they are heat treated and kiln dried certified based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) specifications. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services division of the USDA can provide more information about the specifics of their certification process designed to keep you and the general public and environment safe.

Angie Nelson is an outdoors enthusiast and is also an advocate for fire safety.