A reminder to hunters to burn firewood where you buy it

WSAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- With gun deer hunting opening this weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protections is reminding hunters to burn their firewood where they buy it. State law requires that any firewood brought to a property be from within ten miles of where it is being burned. The only exception is firewood that has been certified and processed by DATCAP.

A stack of chopped firewood on Nov. 18, 2019. (WSAW Photo)

Firewood that is not certified can carry pests and diseases in the form of gypsy moths egg masses, emerald ash borer and fungus. Rick Hummell with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protections said when the eggs and fungus hatch and grow in the spring, it can cause a lot of destruction to nearby trees.

"We know from past experience that if you have an outbreak of gypsy moth in a forest it can turn a summer time forest, and make it look like winter time. It can totally defoliate a forest,” Hummell said.

Keeping the forests healthy is important for many reasons in Wisconsin. Not only do they protect deer habitats but also help Wisconsin’s timber and tourism industry. Tree coverage also protects soil that prevents erosion and runoff into lakes, protecting water quality and fish habitats in the long.

Right now fifty counties in Wisconsin are quarantined for gypsy moth, while all of Wisconsin is under quarantine for emerald ash borer.

DATCAP suggests to buy firewood once at your destination or pick it up along the way. They also suggest use all of your firewood and make sure not to bring any home unless it is certified.