Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Don't Move Firewood

It's the height of the camping season in Idaho, and for many of us, one of the joys of being in Idaho's forests is the evening campfire. Who doesn't love roasted marshmallows as the evening chill sets in?

Chances are, if you camp, you're aware that campfires can cause wildfires. You know to make sure your fire is out, and to check for any fire closures in national forests.

But you may not know of another threat posed by your campfire: non-native insect pests and diseases that devastate our forests.

When you pack firewood from home, you may unkowingly be packing along some of these pests. An insect larva on a chip of wood could be all it takes to literally destroy the forest. The costs of controlling pests in eastern forests like the gypsy moth and the hemlock adelphid cost millions of dollars--and still the pests destroy more acres of forests each year.

Prevention is the key. And there is a simple way you can help:

Don't move firewood.

The Don't Move Firewood campaign, co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, asks campers and wood burners to take three simple steps:

1. Don't move firewood.
2. Talk to your local boy and girl scout troops--avid campfire builders--about the dangers posed by moving firewood.
3. Ask the seller if the firewood you are buying is from local trees.

The Dont' Move Firewood web site has many useful tips on how you can protect your local forests, and ensure the special places you camp will remain special for future generations. So, enjoy your campfire this summer, but leave the wood at home.

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