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Firewood: Burn It Where You Get It

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Sweetgrass, Mont. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds travelers to burn firewood where you obtain it. Don't move unburned firewood from one campground to another.

CBP, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies recently conducted an agriculture compliance operation at ports of entry located in and near Glacier National Park, Montana and Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada. A disturbing trend concerning firewood was noticed during the operation: recreational travelers are taking softwood firewood that was sawn from bug-killed trees and moving it to non-infested areas of the U.S. and Canada.

The Mountain Pine Beetle is a bark beetle that has spread through many forests in the western U.S. and is responsible for deforesting large areas. In an effort to forestall the spread of forest pests such as Mountain Pine beetle from infested areas to uninfested areas, many campgrounds, including those in state and provincial parks in the U.S. and Canada, have made free firewood available to campers. Very often the firewood has been sawn from bug-killed trees. Campgrounds have signs posted advising campers to burn the wood there and not move the firewood from the campground.

The movement of firewood from infested to uninfested areas of the U.S. and Canada by recreational travelers may move forest pests to uninfested areas at a much faster rate than would occur naturally.

All firewood is subject to inspection at ports of entry. Firewood showing signs of pest infestation, such as exit holes in the bark, may be refused entry and travelers may be required to return to Canada with the wood. Currently, all hardwood firewood from Canada is prohibited entry into the U.S. without a certificate of treatment. Softwood firewood is regulated from areas of Canada infested with gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle.

Last Modified: February 3, 2021