Texas A&M Forest Service urges campers not to move firewood

Published: Oct. 23, 2023 at 7:31 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - East Texans are traveling for hunting or camping trips as temperatures cool down, and the Texas A&M Forest Service wants outdoor enthusiasts to be vigilant when picking up firewood.

As outdoor activities increase, so does the collection of firewood.

Allen Smith is the regional health forest coordinator, and he says insects can travel far distances if you’re not careful with the firewood you use.

“When it’s an egg or a larvae, sometimes they’re very small. They’re buried inside the wood, underneath the bark. People might not even know that they’re in there,” said Smith.

He explained that tree-killing pests live and breed in firewood. “No one is moving these insects around on purpose, but it’s an inadvertent thing that can be easily avoided,” said Smith.

In East Texas, the most common pest infestation is from emerald ash borer, “which affects ash trees and is responsible for killing about 99% of the ash trees in the upper Midwest, where it originated from,” Smith said.

Another common pest is the Redbay ambrosia beetle, “which is a very small, tiny insect that gets into Redbay and Sassafras type trees, Laurel trees, and carries a fungus that kills those trees.”

Smith said to help prevent infestations, don’t travel with firewood at all.

“Buying your firewood where you’re going to burn it, burning it at that location, and if you have left over, leave it there. Don’t move it around,” Smith said.