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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Schneider

Buy Local! Burn Local! ~ Don't transport invasive species in firewood

Spring is upon us and so is the camping season! Undoubtedly, many of you are stocking your camping supplies and looking forward to evenings spent around a campfire. You may be tempted to bring firewood from home to avoid the hassle of a Free Use Permit for Firewood or the cost of buying wood on site but be aware of unwanted hitchhikers!

‘Buy Local, Burn Local’ is a campaign to spread awareness of the transportation of invasive insects in firewood. When hauling wood further than 16 kilometres beyond its original site, you risk spreading invasive insects that can harm our forests, grasslands, and agriculture operations. Trees and plants have resistance to insect species native to their region and predators such as birds to help control populations. However, invasive species have no such restrictions. They can be devastating to ecosystems and have a considerable economic impact on the agriculture and forestry industries.


The spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) is one such example. Thankfully not yet widespread in BC, the spongy moth’s main method of long-distance travel is through firewood. They target at least 300 different species of deciduous and conifer trees and are prevalent in the eastern US and Canada. Feeding en masse, they have been known to leave trees entirely bare of foliage. If they were to become a serious problem in BC they could have a significant impact, particularly in orchards.


How can we mitigate the spread of spongy moths and other damaging species? Burn local wood! Outside of BC Parks, you can collect wood with a Free Use Permit for Firewood. Permits are available online, but make sure you have the permit for the Natural Resource District in which you will be cutting or collecting. Buying local is also a great option. Firewood within 80 kilometres is considered local, but the shorter the distance the safer it is. If you do accidentally bring non-local wood, be sure to burn it first. Any wood you find at the campsite, please pay it forward and leave it for the next camper.

As with all invasive species, limiting spread is key to protecting our valuable native species, as well as our livelihoods. ‘Buy Local, Burn Local’ is a simple step to prevent a big problem. For more information on ‘Buy Local, Burn Local,’ you can visit https://canadainvasives.ca/programs/buy-local-burn-local/. For information on invasive species, you can visit our website https://www.boundaryinvasives.com/, or contact us at info@boundaryinvasives.com, or 250-446-2232. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


Firewood can be bought from local businesses and at some campgrounds

Image Credit: Boundary Invasive Species Society

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