Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
More than half of Michigan is forested, covered with around 14 billion trees. Those trees are threatened by invasive species and blights like the oak wilt, which can kill an infected Red Oak in just a few weeks. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is asking residents to leave firewood at home when traveling for camping or other outdoor activities. The Nature Conservancy’s “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign recommends only using firewood bought or found within 10 miles of a campsite, or within 50 miles at most if there are no other options.
It is important to remember that just because firewood does not look infected, that does not mean it is safe to move. Even microscopic fungal spores can be dangerous to trees, and some studies have found that insects will live inside cut wood for as long as three years before coming out. If you really need to bring firewood with you, look for heat-treated bundles that are still in the original packaging. Heat-treated firewood should have a federal or state seal on the package letting you know it is safe to travel with.
Michigan alone has nearly twice as many trees as there are humans on the planet. No matter where you go, there is going to be local firewood to buy or collect. But if we keep bringing our firewood with us, pests and blights will come with it and threaten the forests Michigan is known for.