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Buy it where you burn it

Hunters, if the supply list for the trip up north this deer season includes firewood, cross it off right now. Instead, wait until arriving to buy it local or pick up certified firewood on the way.

That’s because it is sometimes illegal, and always a bad idea to move firewood from county to county, unless it’s certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Firewood can carry pests and diseases in the form of gypsy moth egg masses, emerald ash borer larvae and the fungus that causes oak wilt.

It could even harbor pests and diseases not yet detected in Wisconsin.

“Gypsy moth and emerald ash borer are two of the most destructive pests in North America,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the DATCP. “Gypsy moth poses a broad threat, attacking hundreds of different tree and shrub species.

“Emerald ash borers attack only ash trees in Wisconsin, but ash provides wildlife habitat and other environmental benefits, lines the streets in many communities,and is one of our highest-value woods, accounting for many of our timber exports. It’s also culturally important to Native Americans.”

Along with providing habitat for whitetail deer, northern forests provide many jobs, both in the timber industry and tourism.

Hardwood firewood cannot be carried legally from counties quarantined for gypsy moth, to non-quarantined areas. In Wisconsin, 50 counties are quarantined for gypsy moth. A map showing the quarantined counties is available online at

Even though all of Wisconsin is under quarantine for emerald ash borer, the insect is not detected in the majority of the state’s forests. Moving firewood to these areas could accelerate the spread of emerald ash borer to uninfested areas.

The DNR prohibits bringing firewood onto state lands from more than 10 miles away, and the U.S. Forest Service prohibits bringing firewood into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from more than 25 miles away.

The only exception to the prohibitions, is for firewood that has been certified by the DATCP, that been treated to destroy pests. Certified firewood is clearly labeled.

A list of certified firewood dealers is available online at Certified firewood is also often available at convenience stores and other places selling firewood.