The next time you're planning a camping trip, the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon want you to think about protecting your favorite outdoor haunts by not moving firewood. The Buy It Where You Burn It campaign encourages people to obtain their firewood in a place as close as possible to the place where it will be burned.
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Firewood is a high-risk vector fo wood-boring insects such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, two species responsible for widespread defoliation of forests in Midwest and Eastern states. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho teamed up to spread the word about the potential dangers of transporting firewood carrying live invasive insects and diseases using grant funding from the 2010 Farm Bill. The campaign launched in full force July 15.
The tri-state $481,000 campaign includes billboards and radio spots, firewood exchange programs, biodegradable flying discs and playing cards with "Don't Move Firewood" messages, and pre- and post-awareness surveys conducted by Oregon State University to determine the effectiveness of outreach.
The Oregon Invasive Species Council (OISC) led the development of a grant to launch an outreach and education campaign with Washington and Idaho to inform the public about the many insect and fungal invasive species and diseases that can be spread by moving untreate firewood.
"Just about anyone that goes camping or spends time outdoors enjoys a campfire," said OISC Chair Sam Chan. "But we need the public's assistance to buy and burn firewood locally, not transport firewood beyond local distances, or use heat-treated firewood. Otherwise, the potential exists to introduce species like the emerald ash borer and wood boring insects that have decimated forests in the Eastern United States and threaten millions of forested acres in the West. We recognize that invasive species don't acknowledge state lines, therefore, we asked Idaho and Washington to partner with us in this campaign to protect the Pacific Northwest."
People have traditionally moved firewood to favorite camp spots and even new homes without recognizing the threat posed by firewood as a pathway for the movement of invasive species.
What are individual states doing to lessen the threat caused by insects and diseases in firewood? Some states have placed restriction on out-of-state firewood unless it has been heat treated, while other states discourage people from moving firewood within the state -- buy local and burn local. Outreach programs have been launched in most states, and a national website, www.dontmovefirewood.org/, provides excellent information on not moving firewood.
"Hopefully, when people plan their next trip, whether it be camping, hunting, fishing, or moving their residence, they'll make the right choice for Oregon and leave their firewood behind, and then buy and burn local or heat-treated firewood," said Chan. "This is one invasive species issue where literally everyone can make a difference."
The Oregon Invasive Species Council was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2002. Its mission is to conduct a coordinated and comprehensive effort to keep invasive species out of Oregon and to eliminate, reduce, or mitigate th impacts of invasive species already established in Oregon. Current members of the council hail from the Oregon Marine Board, USDA Forest Service, USDA-APHIS, The Nature Conservancy, Dow Agrosciences, DLF International, Wallowa Resources, Port of Portland, and SOLV. In addition, agency representatives include Portland State University, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.