Get firewood where you will use it AND know the laws before you move it!
Firewood can transport harmful tree problems to your backyard, street or favorite campsite. Just one firewood log can easily hide insects like emerald ash borer or gypsy moth, or the tiny spores of a tree-killing fungus like oak wilt.
Instead of taking firewood along on your next camping trip or bringing some home with you from far away, get your firewood where you’re going to use it. Make sure it is from trees harvested nearby. Or, buy firewood from a WI certified dealer [PDF]. This wood has been processed to eliminate pests and diseases.
Wisconsin regulates the movement of firewood in the state to help protect our trees and forests. Property owners and managers may also have additional restrictions. Here are some basic rules.
Rules for all of Wisconsin
Firewood may not be moved from a county quarantined for emerald ash borer to a county not yet quarantined. The same is true for counties quarantined for gypsy moth.
Rules for state properties
As of June 1, 2014, if you are bringing wood to a state property it must meet all of the following criteria:
- be from within 10 miles of the state property; and
- be from outside of a quarantined area in Wisconsin or another state [PDF], unless the property is also within a quarantine.
Firewood that has been certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture has been processed to kill potential pests and diseases hiding inside. It is legal to move this wood around the state regardless of quarantines and it may be brought to state parks, forests and other DNR campsites. Find a WI certified dealer.
Many campgrounds now restrict firewood use. County, federal and private lands may have their own restrictions. Call ahead for specific information for your campsite.
Burning pallets is not recommended
Not allowed: 1) Full or partial pallets, skids or slabs. This wood is fresh enough to harbor pests and has traveled long distances. 2) Wood that is painted, treated with preservatives, or made up of a composite of wood and glue such as chipboard and plywood. Toxins are released when this is burned causing a serious health hazard.
Firewood for sale
Most parks offer quality firewood for sale at a reasonable price by the park’s friends group. Proceeds return to the park’s budget and pay for things like educational programs, buildings and picnic shelters, seasonal naturalists and needed equipment. Private sellers often have firewood for sale just outside of the park as well. For firewood availability at your destination, contact the park. Photo by Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Use up firewood
Use up the firewood you have at each place on your camping vacation. Do not leave any unused wood behind and do not take it with you to another destination.
Buy dry firewood
When buying firewood, make sure the pieces are dry and have either no bark or bark that is loose (a sign that the wood is very dry). This will this reduce the threat of spreading diseases and your fire will be easier to start.
Cook using gas or charcoal instead
Reduce your need for open fire by cooking over gas or charcoal. Instead of an evening campfire, explore new night-time activities like star-gazing or viewing wildlife by flashlight.
No firewood from outside Wisconsin!!!!!
If you are a camper from outside of Wisconsin, please do not bring firewood with you. It will be confiscated and if the wood is from a quarantined area, you could be violating a federal law forbidding hardwood movement of any kind out of your state or county of residence.
Federal fines up to $1,000.00 may be imposed.
Bring a receipt with you
If you are a camper from Wisconsin and purchase your firewood outside of the park please have a receipt ready to show proof of that purchase. It will be checked for location against firewood quarantined areas of the state.
You can buy firewood in, or just outside of, almost every Wisconsin State Park. The only places where it is not available are:
Newport State Park; and the “flowage” properties – Chippewa Flowage, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area, Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, and the Menomonee River Natural Resources Area.
If visiting these areas, you will find firewood available locally – either for sale in nearby communities, or on the property as dead, dry wood.
Adapted from here: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/firewood.html