The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking deer hunters to help protect the state’s forest resources by exercising campfire caution. Less well known, but potentially more damaging, is the possibility of spreading forest pests by moving firewood from place to place. The gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle and thousand cankers disease are among pests with the potential to devastate Missouri’s multi-million dollar forest-products industry, not to mention the ecological damage they could cause. MDC spokesperson Jim Low tells KZIM-KSIM that these pests can hitch rides on firewood moved from one area to another. Low says the best method is to purchase firewood once you have reached your camping destination, or cut firewood on site. Then, do not remove leftover wood, but burn it on site. And don't leave firewood for the the next person, they may not know to avoid transporting it. Low says that with drought conditions still prevailing in much of Missouri, caution is still sensible at the fire site. Important measures include removing all burnable material from the area around the fire ring, never leaving a fire unattended, and thoroughly extinguishing fires when not needed. For more info visit mdc.org.
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