You may remember the old saying that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” But did you know that by burning local firewood in your fireplace, only you can prevent your favorite campgrounds and your own backyard from being destroyed? When people burn wood from a different area, the entire ecosystem is threatened because of the possible presence of parasites and bugs in the logs which aren’t native to the region. This isn’t the only good reason to burn only local firewood.
What’s in the Firewood?
Even when trees have been cut and dried out as firewood, the logs can house various parasites and bugs which are native to the area the tree grew in. If the firewood is moved to a different region, those same insects could enter an ecological system which has no resistance to the new intruders. The results can be catastrophic, causing plants and trees to die off; and it can take a long time for the source of the problem to be identified.
Some of the pests and diseases which have traveled long distances in firewood and endangered areas which were previously unexposed include Sudden Oak Death, Emerald Ash Borer, and the Goldspotted Oak Borer. You often can’t see what’s in the wood, but it’s best to assume that all wood is a potential risk. Buying and burning local wood is the surest way to avoid becoming part of the problem.
What Other Harm is Done?
When insects and diseases move into new areas and begin killing off trees, more than the ecosystem is destroyed. These new infestations destroy home and property values, cost large amounts of money to control, and destroy forests.
Why are Nonlocal Insects and Diseases Worse than those that are Native?
For potentially millions of years, native plant life has built up defenses against the diseases and insects of the environment they have been living in. When new predators are introduced, the trees have no means of natural defense against them. With nothing to stop the foreign insects and diseases, they reproduce quickly and grow at a rate that is uncontrollable, leaving dead trees behind.
How Far is Too Far to Move Firewood?
What is meant by “local firewood” is accessing the source of wood that is as close and convenient for you as possible. Experts give a general guideline, saying that less than 11 miles is best and moving the firewood 50 miles is too far.
Some states have laws which restrict the ability to cross the state line with firewood, and the related fines can be very costly. In addition, some states have regulations, quarantines, and rules which give clear guidance on how far is too far to move firewood.
Other Benefits of Local Firewood
It’s less expensive to purchase firewood that is local, as opposed to buying imported logs. Of course, cutting down trees on your own land and then replanting is the most economical way to heat your home. Buying firewood locally supports the local economy.
Protecting the Environment
Most people today have an interest in being responsible with our planet’s resources. Burning local wood is one way to be friendly to the environment, since you don’t contribute to the devastating introduction of insects and parasites to new regions.
Contact our chimney professionals about any questions you may have about your chimney and venting systems, such as what is best to burn in your fireplace.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110