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Michigan DNR urges safe firewood use to prevent spread of invasive species

Alexander Schimmeck

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents to prevent the spread of invasive species by using safe firewood practices.

Invasive species are harmful species, often hard to detect with the naked eye, that are not native to the area. They can be spread when humans move contaminated firewood to new locations.

State officials say there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved this way, including the Asian longhorn beetle, beech leaf disease, oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, and others. Some are already in Michigan or present in nearby states.

The effects of these invaders can be seen in Michigan’s recreational spaces like P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, whose woody wildlife areas and shady campsites have been emaciated by oak wilt.

To protect Michigan wildlife, the DNR recommends those using firewood to buy or gather firewood where you burn it, or buy certified heat-treated firewood.

“There are local firewood vendors across the state of Michigan, so you want to buy local,” said Joanne Foreman, Michigan DNR Invasive Species Communications Coordinator. “You don’t necessarily have to buy right at where you’re staying, but somewhere in the local vicinity is best.”

Michigan firewood vendors are listed on FirewoodScout.org.

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