What is meant when you hear, ‘Don’t move firewood’?

Gigi Neal
By Gigi Neal

I’m sure you have heard or seen the signs that say “don’t move firewood” all around our communities, television, and about any publication.

What does this phrase really mean? It means that you should do your part to not risk the spread of an invasive pest or plant by moving firewood from point A to point B.

Firewood should be harvested or purchased at the location you are burning a fire. You should not bring any extra firewood home with you when you leave your fire location.

According to the “Don’t Move Firewood” website,, you can still have a roaring campfire, or a cozy night in front of the fireplace, if you just know how to burn safe. Below are a couple guidelines to assist in your firewood management:

1. Buy firewood near where you will burn it, general rule of thumb is wood cut within 50 miles is too far and 10 miles is best.

2. Wood that looks clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs, or microscopic fungi spores, that will start a new and deadly infestation. Always leave it at home, even if you think the firewood looks fines.

3. Aged or season wood is still not safe. Just because it is dry doesn’t mean that bugs can’t crawl onto it!

4. Tell your friends not to bring wood with them; everyone needs to know that they should not move firewood.

Now how does this affect us in Clermont with EAB and ALB concerns! According to USDA APHIS, it is illegal to remove the following items from ALB quarantined areas: firewood, stumps, roots, branches, debris and other material living, dead, cut, or fallen from all hardwood species; and green lumber, nursery stock and logs of the following genera: Acer (maple), Aesculus (horse chestnut), Albizia (mimosa), Betula (birch), Celtis (hackberry), Cercidiphyllum (katsura), Fraxinus (ash), Koelteria (golden raintree), Platanus (sycamore), Populus (poplar), Salix (willow), Sorbus (mountain ash), and Ulmus (elm).

While you can continue to care for your trees as you have in the past within ALB zones, you are not to remove any regulated articles from the regulated or quarantined areas.

Additionally, only those companies that are covered by a compliance agreement with ODA, are permitted to work with regulated articles within the regulated area. Regulated articles include all the items listed in the prior paragraph.

Ohio has found the Emerald Ash Borer in 25 counties and counting. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has placed a quarantine preventing the movement of ash wood from all counties. Additionally the US Department of Agriculture has placed quarantine on the entire state of Ohio preventing the movement of ash wood out of the state of Ohio.

You can still have fun and enjoy yourself with camp fires, fireplaces and more, just be smart and burn safe. Don’t move firewood!

Gigi Neal is the OSU Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator serving Clermont County and the Miami Valley EERA.