Camping trips rarely feel complete without a few hours spent gazing into the flames of a crackling campfire. If you’re car camping this summer and plan to enjoy that atavistic delight, remember a simple rule about firewood: don’t travel with it.

Firewood can harbor small, invasive pests that could put a forest at risk if introduced to a new area. Even wood that appears clean can host microscopic nuisances. Pests such as the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and Asian longhorn beetle could be introduced to Alaska if firewood is brought in from outside the state. Even transporting firewood within Alaska can be a risk. Southcentral has experienced major spruce beetle outbreaks and taking firewood from that region to a different area could spread the beetle.

Experts recommend burning firewood within 50 miles of where you bought or harvested the wood. The only firewood considered safe to move are retail bundles that have been heat treated and are marked with a USDA or state agency seal. If you see an unusual bug in Alaska, you can report it to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

Learn more at dontmovefirewood.org.


Alexander Deedy formerly worked as the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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