Put Down That Firewood, and Nobody Will Get Hurt

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campfire

Here in Kentucky, we’ve been entertaining an unwelcome visitor in the last few years: the emerald ash borer. This Asian invader has killed more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States and will likely kill millions more before it’s through. The only way to prevent infestation is to treat an ash tree with insecticide every two years—at a cost of around $200 per treatment. Needless to say, most trees won’t get that expensive treatment.

So what’s the connection to Scouting? Pests like the emerald ash borer and diseases like white pine blister rust often hitch a ride on firewood that’s being transported from one place to another—in a troop trailer, for example. While it might be thrifty to haul your own firewood to camp, it’s not very environmentally friendly.

As Scouts and Scouters, we subscribe to the principles of Leave No Trace, which include minimizing campfire impacts. One way we can do that is by waiting until we reach our destinations to purchase firewood.

How far is too far? According to the Don’t Move Firewood campaign, 10 miles or less is ideal. For much more information, visit the campaign’s website, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy and operates under the auspices of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases.

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