Governor’s Column: Don’t Move Firewood
Don’t Move Firewood
By Governor Kristi Noem
May 17, 2019
Not much beats sitting around the campfire on a cool summer night or roasting a s’more over a smoking bonfire. For many folks, these are signs of summer, but it’s easy to forget the extreme impact to our state’s natural resources if we are not careful about where we get our firewood.
Many non-native insects and diseases can hitchhike inside of firewood when it is moved to new locations. These insects and diseases can’t move far on their own, but when people move firewood, they can jump hundreds of miles, spreading unique diseases to new areas. This can have a devastating effect on our trees and other wildlife.
We have already seen this impacting our state. Last May, state officials discovered the emerald ash borer in Sioux Falls. Since then, this exotic, destructive beetle has killed hundreds of ash trees, clearing them from city parks, neighborhoods, and homes. The cold temperatures earlier this year killed a portion of the emerald ash borer larvae, but now more than ever, it’s imperative that South Dakotans buy or collect firewood where they plan to burn it or buy certified heat-treated firewood.
When you bring firewood camping with you or gather non-local firewood for your home, you run the risk of transporting invasive species that lurk in the wood, waiting to find a new healthy tree to become their host. These pests and diseases have caused millions of dollars of damage to communities and forests across the nation.
Due to the incredible importance of not moving firewood in South Dakota, the Department of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks have partnered together to develop a pledge for everyone to protect South Dakota’s natural resources by not moving firewood.
Trees are an important part of our state. Not only do they add shade and beauty to our communities and protection for our land and cattle, they also provide much-needed oxygen and absorb more than ten pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Let’s work together to protect them from non-native insects and diseases.
As we enter the summer months, let’s work together to protect our trees from non-native insects and diseases. I’m committed to doing my part to reduce the risk by signing the Don’t Move Firewood pledge. I encourage you to do the same. You can take the pledge and learn more about protecting our outdoor resources at –