For two years, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has had a regulation posted prohibiting the import of firewood in the state unless it has been treated to kill pests. It also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source.
For one area firewood seller, the regulation has had little effect on business.
"What it's done is I have to provide a receipt and have to prove that I'm not buying that wood from outside a 50-mile radius," said Jack Jakeman, owner of Jack Jakeman Forestry Services.
provided by the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation warns against the transportation of firewood to stop the spread of
invasive insects. The DEC imposed a regulation
prohibiting the transport of
untreated firewood more than 50 miles from where it was cut down, causing retailers to have to provide information as to where the wood originated.
Some advisories put out by the DEC include leaving all firewood at home and not bringing it to campgrounds or parks, and to get the wood directly from the campground or a local vendor. Those getting their wood from a local vendor are recommended to ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.
Jakeman said on his receipt, he writes down how much wood a customer is buying, who it went to and the source, which he lists as the town of Galway, since that is where he gets most of his wood.
"If I'm ever stopped, they can go through the records and see that I don't get much from the outside," he said.
Jakeman said he doesn't go farther than 50 miles to get firewood because if he does, transportation costs would cut into his profit margin.
For those looking to transport firewood, it must have a label or receipt indicating the source municipality. For firewood cut from personal property, campers must have a self-issued certificate of source, and it must be sourced within 50 miles of the property it was cut from.
The only firewood that can be transported into the state or moved farther than 50 miles within it must meet the state's treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried). The treatment, according to the regulation, must raise the core temperature of the firewood to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and hold it there for at least 75 minutes.
These regulations have been implemented in response to various invasive insect pests, the DEC said, such as chestnut blight, European gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease, and beech bark disease. Recently the DEC has discovered Asian long-horned beetles, hemlock wooly adelgigs, pine shoot beetles and Sirex woodwasps. Others include insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian gypsy moth.
Jakeman's wood source in Galway is well within the 50-mile radius of all the area's major campgrounds, including the three run by the DEC - Caroga Lake, Northampton Beach and Sacandaga in Wells.
The 50-mile radius for the Caroga Lake Campground stretches to Rome, Stamford, Schoharie County, into Washington County and most of Hamilton County. The radius for Northampton stretches to the Vermont border, into the middle of Schoharie County, nearly to Utica and into northern Hamilton County. Sacandaga's covers nearly all of Hamilton County, into Washington County, south to Cobleskill and west to Utica.
For those who don't want to worry about possibly transporting wood too far, David Winchell, a spokesman for the DEC, said firewood is sold at all three local campgrounds run by the agency.
At a June 25 checkpoint in central New York, 650 vehicles were stopped, and 15 people carrying firewood that violated restrictions got warnings but no fines. There have been about a dozen checkpoints this year, and others are planned for Aug. 11 and Sept. 2 in western New York.
Peter Fanelli, the DEC's director of law enforcement, said authorities have delivered hundreds of oral warnings but just a dozen tickets, and continue to stress educating campers.
"We're not going to solve this by writing tickets," Fanelli said. "If people continue hiding firewood from us, our efforts won't amount to much."
Information from The Associated Press wasn used in this report.