Texas A&M Forest Service Urges Outdoor Enthusiasts To Buy Firewood Where They Burn It to Protect Ecosystems
Texas A&M Forest Service asks the public — especially outdoor enthusiasts — to avoid moving firewood around the state and to exercise caution when collecting or buying it.
The state agency said even firewood that appears “clean and healthy” can be infested with invasive pests and diseases that can cause severe ecological and economic impacts over time.
While forest pests can spread on their own, accidental transport by humans is one of the main ways they can move greater distances, sometimes quickly jumping state and county lines.
“We can all limit the spread of forests pests,” said Demian Gomez, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health coordinator. “The best rule of thumb is to burn the firewood close to where it’s bought or picked up. Moving firewood can easily introduce insects and diseases to new areas, particularly during hunting or camping seasons.”
Many impactful tree-killing pests present in Texas forests live and breed inside firewood, he said. Some wood borers, such as the invasive ash borer and redbay ambrosia beetle, have caused devastating impacts, wiping out entire tree species from some regions of the country.
Native pathogens like oak wilt have killed oak trees in Central Texas in epidemic proportions.