The good news is, its camping season! The bad news is, some campers don't follow the firewood transportation regulation in NYS, and it could have devasting consequences.

You cannot transport firewood from your own woodlot to your camp unless it's within a 50 mile radius. The firewood transport regulation in New York is in place to protect our forests from the spread of invasive insects and diseases. It is illegal to transport untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source within New York State. It is also illegal to bring untreated firewood into New York State.

If you are found with non-compliant firewood in transport or possession it will be returned to its source or confiscated and destroyed. All species of trees that are used as firewood are regulated as dangerous, invasive insects and diseases can be found in, or on, almost every native New York tree species. The DEC is focusing on firewood, as the vector, or means by which pests are moved, rather than addressing individual pests one at a time.

If you are bringing untreated firewood onto DEC or State Parks lands, source or origin documentation, or a treatment label must be retained with the firewood.

We contacted Lori Severino, Public Information Officer, Office of Media Relations from the Department of Environmental Conservation and asked a few questions about the firewood transportation law.

Why are there firewood transportation regulations?

Transporting firewood could spread diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Without this regulation, firewood infested with invasive insects such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle could be transported throughout the state spreading infestations from one place to another and severely threaten New York's forests and community trees.

What is the Penalty?

Under the Environmental Conservation Law, violations of these regulations are subject to a $250 fine, plus a $100 civil penalty and up to 15 days in jail.

What invasive species are a problem with firewood?

There are many invasive, exotic forest insects and diseases of concern to New York. Almost every native New York trees species are susceptible to attack by one or more exotic pest. Some of these insects and diseases are already known to be present in parts of New York, some are threatening us from other states or regions, and still, others have yet to find their way to this country (that we know of). Some pests and their hosts of particular concern include:

Asian longhorned beetle - maples, birches, ash, sycamore, poplar, willow, elm, hackberry, mountain ash, horse-chestnut
Emerald ash borer - all ash species (white, black, green)
Sirex woodwasp - pines (Scots, red, white, Austrian, pitch)
Hemlock wooly adelgid - hemlock
Asian gypsy moth - over 500 hosts including oak, basswood, birch, poplar, alder, willow, larch, hemlock, pine, and spruce
Light brown apple moth - apple, oaks, pines, poplars, walnut
Brown spruce longhorned beetle - spruces
Oak wilt - oaks, especially red oak

Regarding the future, are the limitations on moving firewood for the short-term, or is it likely campers will be encouraged to limit firewood transportation for the long-term.

This is a long-term regulation. Firewood regulations, in various forms, currently exist in Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland. Many other States are considering similar actions and have outreach and awareness campaigns asking users to not move firewood.