Oregonians now have a choice: buy local firewood, or to buy firewood that comes from elsewhere that’s labelled pest-free.
The Oregon Legislature passed the new firewood law in 2011, to stop invasive species like the Emerald Ash Borer from gaining a local foothold. It’s taken the state Agriculture Department a few years to agree on rules. But insect prevention manager Helmuth Rogg says starting January, firewood either has to come from local trees, or it has to be heated to 140 degrees for an hour — to kill the pests.
“We’ve waited for the federal government to do something but that hasn’t come through yet,” said Rogg. “So in Oregon we’re thinking ahead.”
Concern about shipping pests began in 2010 after the Agriculture Department bought firewood from stores across Oregon. The wood had originated in at least six states, as well as Canada and Mexico. It was stored and then the bugs that emerged were identified. But none were the invasive species targeted by the state.
In an earlier version of this story, OPB incorrectly reported the date that the new labeling law took effect for firewood sold in Oregon. The new law took effect in January 2013.
OPB regrets the error.