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Campaign urges campers to burn local wood

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on July 16, 2010 at 10:40 am with No Comments »
July 16, 2010 10:40 am

Washington has joined with Idaho and Oregon in encouraging campers to buy firewood as close as possible to where it will be burned. It’s part of the “Buy it Where You Burn It” campaign by the Washington Invasive Species Council.
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, can travel inside firewood, said a council news release.

“A little extra caution can help protect the very lands we enjoy,” Chris Christopher, chair of the Invasive Species Council, said in the release. “We need the public’s help to buy and burn firewood locally, not transport firewood beyond local distances or use heat-treated firewood.”

The three-state, $481,000 campaign – funded by a federal grant – includes billboards and other advertising. Billboards will be displayed in Spokane, Grant, Lewis, Clallam and Whatcom counties.

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, the release said.

The three states are not the first to launch campaigns. Some states have restricted out-of-state firewood unless it has been heat treated. Outreach programs have been launched in most states, and a national website provides information on not moving firewood.

“The council’s goal is to get people thinking about the risks to Washington when they move firewood,” Christopher said in the release. “We hope that people will leave their firewood behind, and then buy and burn local or heat treated firewood. It’s an easy thing to do and can save a forest.”

The Invasive Species Council was established by the Legislature in 2006 to provide policy level direction, planning and coordination for combating harmful invasive species throughout the state and preventing the introduction of others that may be potentially harmful. For more information, visit the council’s website.

Remember to be safe when camping and using campfires. Please look for local rules and regulations regarding burn bans during the summer fire season.

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