Owl Shack - scops owl Christmas

There’s nothing better on a cold evening than snuggling up to a warm fire in the fireplace, pot-bellied stove, or campfire. But did you know there are tree diseases and insects alive and well inside firewood? To fuel your fire, be sure to use locally collected firewood. If brought in from afar, firewood could contain tree-killing fungus or non-native and destructive beetle larvae such as the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis). The ash borer is native to Asia but is racing across the U.S. in part due to hitchhiking in firewood, and wiping out our native species of ash tree as it spreads. Even the experts inspecting a pile of wood can’t always see a couple of tiny insect bore-holes or a few microscopic fungus spores. To learn more about the ash borer, please see

Non-native forest insects and diseases have both no natural defenses against them within the trees, and little to no predators and parasites in their new homes. This means the non-native insects and diseases can reproduce quickly and become out of control which could wipeout millions of trees in their wake.

As a general rule, hauling firewood 50 miles is too far but 10 miles or less is just right. If you buy firewood, look for a USDA stamp of approval that the wood has been heat treated. That means they got it hot enough to kill any invasive fungi and insects hiding on or inside the wood.

Obtain your firewood locally to insure you’re not aiding in the spread of non-native and destructive insects and fungi. Do it for the owls.

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