The summer of 2019 is winding down rapidly, but I know many Utahns are still planning outdoor “stay-cations” across our beautiful state. With that, a word of caution in reference to our firewood quarantine.
Campfires are a must whenever I head outdoors overnight. Telling stories, roasting s’ mores, and keeping warm are all part of the magic and memories.
However, it’s critical to the beauty and economy of our state that we know where all firewood comes from. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) must be notified of all firewood entering the state and will inspect firewood if it poses a risk of harboring invasive insects of concern.
Without the state’s approval, we could unintentionally allow unwanted insects from other states into our ecosystem. Neighboring states like Colorado have already identified the presence of one or more critters that are on our watch list in Utah, including Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Beyond our neighboring states, there are additional pests we are concerned about such as Gypsy Moth, Pine Shoot Beetle, Asian Longhorned Beetle and Spotted Lanternfly.
When firewood is imported from other states, it has the potential to harbor these or other insects. Other states have paid an enormous price when this happens, including millions of dollars of ongoing cost to address the problem and losing the marketability of quarantined products to non-infested states. Utah has an excellent history of keeping invaders out, but we have to stay vigilant.
Harboring invasive insects is not only costly and necessitates pesticides to eradicate, but it also means potentially losing some urban trees that provide beauty and shade for citizens across Utah’s many cities and towns.
I am calling on all Utahns to help me enforce the quarantine on firewood that our State Legislature has put into place earlier this year (R68-23). To do that, please read the labels of firewood you purchase, and never bring into Utah firewood from outside the state unless it has been approved and given a clean bill of health by UDAF.
If you have questions about the quarantine in Utah or other states or would like more information about invasive insects, please go to www.dontmovefirewood.org or call us at (801) 538-7100.