New DNR firewood rule takes effect Saturday

Saturday, March 17, 2012

As camping season approaches, visitors to DNR properties should prepare for the new DNR firewood rule that takes effect Saturday (March 17).

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission approved a similar firewood policy last year but adopted it as a permanent rule in January.

The new rule helps protect forests from the 140 known pests and pathogens that currently affect forests. The pests and pathogens are transported from place to place primarily through the movement of firewood.

Under the rule, in-state visitors to state parks, reservoirs, state forests and state fish and wildlife areas can bring firewood from home as long as the bark has been removed. The reason for bark removal is insect larvae live in the sapwood under the bark.

Visitors from outside Indiana cannot bring firewood from out of state because of federal emerald ash borer quarantines.

Guests may also bring firewood into DNR properties, if it is:

-- Kiln-dried scrap lumber.

-- Purchased outside the property and bears either a USDA compliance stamp or a state compliance stamp.

-- Purchased from the property camp store or on-site firewood vendor and has a state compliance stamp.

Regardless of where visitors get their firewood, they should burn it all at the campsite before they leave.

In short, the firewood rule means: "Buy it with a stamp, bring it debarked, burn it all."

The rule gives DNR staff the ability to confiscate firewood that does not comply, and gives Indiana Conservation Officers the authority to write a warning or citation for violations, with potential fines up to $500 plus court costs.

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