Know Before You Buy!
You can help keep California’s forests safe from damaging pests by asking a few simple questions before buying firewood.
Has this firewood been heat-treated or cured for at least 2 years?
Heat-treated firewood is always preferred as heat treating eliminates live pests which could be transported in or on firewood. If heat treated firewood is not available, the next best alternative is firewood that has been cured or seasoned for at least 2 years, lowering the risk for some – although not all – pests.
Where was this firewood harvested?
If the firewood has not been heat treated, be sure it was cut locally and don’t move it out of the area. Firewood that is not heat treated may have pests and diseases that should not be transported to new locations. If the wood is not from a local source, you should consider finding a new firewood vendor selling local or heat-treated wood.
Am I near an area of increased concern for firewood pests?
Various regions in California are infested with invasive tree-killing insects and diseases that are at high risk for spread via firewood movement, including the goldspotted oak borer, polyphagous shot hole borer, sudden oak death, and pitch canker. Take the highest level of precaution in these areas when purchasing firewood by buying heat-treated wood, gathering wood on site when permitted, or, if neither of those options is available, purchase wood local to the area. Buy or gather only what you need and burn it completely. Do not bring firewood home with you.
Buy It Where You Burn It!
For California-specific information on forest pests, please visit these pages:
Protect California’s Forests: Ask These Questions When Buying Firewood, one page handout.
Firewood Best Management Practices by the California Firewood Task Force, two page document.