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Wisconsin Firewood Regulations
Posted by Gary Haas on May 7th, 2014
Don’t move firewood
Firewood easily transports harmful pests and other problems to trees in your backyard, along your street, or at your favorite campsite. Firewood that looks clean may actually be hiding insects like emerald ash borer [exit DNR] or gypsy moth [exit DNR], or the tiny spores of a tree-killing fungus like oak wilt.
Instead of taking firewood along on your next camping trip or bringing some home with you from far away, get your firewood where you’re going to use it. Make sure it was produced from trees harvested nearby.
If you are bringing wood to a state property it must be all of the following:
- from within Wisconsin;
- from within 25 miles of the state property (this law is expected to change to 10 miles in June 2014); and
- from outside of a quarantined area [PDF], unless the property is also within a quarantine.
Or, even easier, consider buying your firewood from a WI certified dealer [PDF]. This wood has been treated to eliminate pests and diseases and is allowed on state properties.
Many campgrounds now restrict firewood use [exit DNR]. Call ahead for specific information for your campsite.
Insects and diseases are excellent hitchhikers in firewood. Identifying these threats is the next step after keeping firewood local.
To help protect the trees in all your favorite places, don’t give those tree-killers a free ride. Don’t move firewood. Read the firewood law [PDF] and more details about Wisconsin’s firewood regulations.
Tips for your camping trip
Allowable firewood types:
- Wisconsin certified firewood, which has been processed to remove harmful hitchhikers.
- Dimensional lumber, such as 2×4 or 4×6 scraps from a building project, will be allowed on state property upon the discretion of park staff.
- Firewood that meets firewood regulations described above.
- Full or partial pallets, skids or slabs. This wood is fresh enough to harbor pests and has traveled long distances.
- Wood that is painted, treated with preservatives, or made up of a composite of wood and glue such as chipboard and plywood. Toxins are released when this is burned causing a serious health hazard.
Most parks offer quality firewood for sale at a reasonable price by the park’s friends group. Proceeds return to the park’s budget and pay for things like educational programs, buildings and picnic shelters, seasonal naturalists and needed equipment. Private sellers often have firewood for sale just outside of the park as well. For firewood availability at your destination, contact the park.
Use up the firewood you have at each place on your camping vacation. Do not leave any unused wood behind and do not take it with you to another destination.
When buying firewood, make sure the pieces are dry and have either no bark or bark that is loose (a sign that the wood is very dry). This will this reduce the threat of spreading diseases and your fire will be easier to start.
Reduce your need for open fire by cooking over gas or charcoal. Instead of an evening campfire, explore new night-time activities like star-gazing or viewing wildlife by flashlight.
If you are a camper from outside of Wisconsin, please do not bring firewood with you. It will be confiscated and if the wood is from a quarantined area, you could be violating a federal law forbidding hardwood movement of any kind out of your state or county of residence. Federal fines up to $1,000.00 may be imposed.
If you are a camper from Wisconsin and purchase your firewood outside of the park please have a receipt ready to show proof of that purchase. It will be checked for location against firewood quarantined areas of the state.
You can buy firewood in, or just outside of, almost every Wisconsin State Park. The only places where it is not available are:
- Newport State Park; and
- the “flowage” properties – Chippewa Flowage, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area, Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, and the Menomonee River Natural Resources Area.
If visiting these areas, you will find firewood available locally – either for sale in nearby communities, or on the property as dead, dry wood.