You might be among the many planning a last-minute camping trip before summer ends. This doesn’t mean it’s okay to rush through packing! Make sure you have a solid pair of hiking boots, lots of bug spray, and…firewood? Not so fast! You can only transport firewood across state lines if certain regulations are met.
These regulations can be a pain, but they exist for a reason. Below we’ll clarify what they are to help you understand them. We’ll also provide solutions to get around them.
The Risky Side of Transporting Firewood
Transporting firewood across state lines is trickier than you might think. Government officials make it this way to avoid the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases. Think about it; trees native to a local area have dealt with the same insects and diseases for millions of years. Non-native insects and diseases pose a threat to trees since they have no defense against them. So, officials regulate moving firewood from place to place so that diseases and insects don’t spread.
Every state has its own laws regarding the transportation of firewood. Let’s examine the rules in both Illinois and Wisconsin, so travelers know what to expect.
Firewood Regulations in Illinois
It’s important to know Illinois’ stance on moving firewood, so you don’t get caught in a tricky situation as you enter the Land of Lincoln!
Currently, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has the entire State of Illinois under quarantine for EAB (Emerald Ash Borer), as it is generally infested. Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle native to Asia. When EAB eggs hatch into larvae, they bury themselves into the inner bark of a tree. This cuts off the tree’s flow of water and nutrients, causing it to die prematurely.
For this reason, it’s against regulations to move any potentially infested hardwood firewood out of Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture does allow firewood to be moved to other areas of the state. Yet, there are conditions to this, too. The IDOA strongly encourages confirmed cases of infested Ash firewood be burned at the original campsite. IDOA officials also recommend minimizing transportation as much as possible. If you’re wondering how far you can transport firewood, the general rule of thumb is to buy firewood no more than 10 miles from where you plan to burn it.
EAB is becoming a rampant problem in Illinois. Officials have tried to stop this increase by regulating the movement of firewood in and out of the state.
Firewood Regulations in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has its regulations regarding the transportation of firewood across state lines, too. Let’s find out how these rules differ from their Sister state’s!
Transporting firewood in Wisconsin is arguably more challenging than in Illinois’. Residents must follow the state’s permanent rule of not bringing firewood onto state property if it has moved more than 10 miles or comes from an area with spongy moth.
Spongy moth are caterpillars that defoliate certain species of trees. The issue becomes alarmingly serious about every 10 years in the Wisconsin region. The only way to move firewood in Wisconsin is if it’s certified safe by the USDA.
Unfortunately, you can’t transport firewood throughout the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin authorities highly encourage the public to buy certified firewood that’s local. The unstated rule is to buy firewood where you’ll use it. It’s worth noting that certain campsites have their own rules, so it’s important to check before visiting.
Authorities in the Badger State set strict guidelines regarding the transportation of firewood. It’s their hope that residents and visitors follow these guidelines to stop the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases.
The Answer to Those Guidelines
Now, you might be thinking, “Geez…those regulations are intense. Isn’t there any way around them?” Fortunately, there is! The USDA established four migration metrics. Firewood must meet at least one of these metrics to move from state to state. They are:
- Remove the bark and an additional ½ inch of the wood, or the cambium layer. The bark and wood that are removed will be regulated separately.
- Follow a kiln-drying treatment.
- Fumigate according to the treatment schedule.
- Heat treatment.
Let’s review these circumstances below, so you don’t have to deal with a legal problem!
Remove the Cambium Layer
The cambium layer is responsible for transporting the products of photosynthesis back to the plants’ roots so they can survive. You can remove all the bark off a branch until you get to the cambium layer and wrap the wound in Sphagnum moss. Doing this sends a signal to the plant that it needs to repair the damage. If you wrap it the cut in Sphagnum moss, roots will begin to grow. This process essentially brings a tree back to the studs where insects and diseases can’t form.
Fumigate the Firewood
You can always fumigate firewood to remove tree-killing insects. Borate mixes are the most common treatment products because they penetrate deep into the wood. Pay attention to what products you buy because some firewood that’s been treated can’t be burned for fear of releasing chemicals into the air. Try to buy certified, synthetic pesticides to move firewood out of the state.
One migration metric set by the USDA is heat-treated firewood. Heat-treated firewood is exactly what it sounds like—firewood that’s been exposed to extreme temperatures. USDA officials are more likely to certify heat-treated firewood to be transported because the heat kills off any insects or diseases that might exist.
The general rule of thumb is 60/60—heat it for 60 mins at 60 degrees Celsius. However, some states, like New York, require firewood to be heated longer and at higher temperatures. Knowing the standards of the state you’re traveling to is critical, so you don’t get caught with illegal firewood.
Kiln-dried firewood is a little more unique than heat treatment. There are two primary ways to dry firewood. Seasoning is when you leave firewood outside for months on end to try. This method hardly ever proves successful. The more effective strategy is to kiln-dry it.
Using this method, you put firewood into a kiln for a certain amount of time and temperature. It sounds like heat treatment, right? Not exactly…
Heat-treated firewood gets so warm that insects and diseases can’t survive. Kiln-dried firewood has a lower moisture content, making it impossible for tree-killing organisms to thrive. The USDA approve kiln-dried firewood for transportation.
Heat-treated and kiln-dried firewood is much easier to bring across state lines. USDA authorities want to see you’ve taken these steps before they allow you to move it and potentially spread tree-killing insects and diseases.
Why Heat-Treated, Kiln-Dried Wood is Superior
The easiest way to get by those regulations is to purchase heat-treated, kiln-dried firewood. Below are some benefits of buying this type of firewood if you need more convincing!
Heat-treated, kiln-dried firewood is certified for state-to-state transportation by the USDA. This firewood has a moisture level of less than 20%. So, it’s nearly impossible for harmful insects and diseases to survive. For this reason, there’s no need to stress about transporting our firewood across state lines!
Better Fire Performance
You should know that heat-treated, kiln-dried firewood has a high-quality burn that’s hard to find anywhere else. The dried wood burns more efficiently, meaning you get more heat and use less wood with every fire you start. Also, the reduced moisture level protects your eyes and chimney from stinging smoke and creosote. What more can you ask for?
We’ll Help Get You the Firewood You Need
Please contact us at (815) 337-1451 if you’re looking for certified firewood today! Our firewood meets all USDA standards, is heat-treated, and kiln-dried so there’s one less thing for you to worry about. Once you get our firewood, you’re good to go! What’s more, we offer pickup and delivery services. So, if you’re too busy loading up the car for your trip, let us pop by and bring the firewood to you. We want you to have fun camping before the sun sets on summertime!