Public comment sought on planned ban on importing untreated firewood

A proposed Rule Governing the Importation of Untreated Firewood into the State of Vermont has been filed with the Secretary of State, and two hearings are scheduled to accept public comment.

cord of woodThe purpose of the rule is to protect forest health by slowing the long-distance movement of wood-borne invasive forest pests, such as Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, and preventing the spread of pests into Vermont. The enabling legislation requires the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to adopt regulations on importing untreated firewood.

The proposed rule, as filed, is open for public comment until Friday, Jan.  15, 2016. Two public hearings are scheduled and both begin at 4 p.m.:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the Manchester Town Hall, 6039 Main St. (Route 7A), in Manchester Center
  • Thursday, Jan. 7 at the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, 1315 Hospital  Drive, in St. Johnsbury.

The proposed rule prohibits the importation of untreated firewood into Vermont. The definition of firewood states that it is wood processed for burning and less than 48 inches in length, but does not include wood chips, pellets, pulpwood or wood for manufacturing purposes.

It allows treated firewood to enter the state if it is treated to the USDA standard of 160° F (71.1° C) for at least 75 minutes at a certified treatment facility and is accompanied by certification of treatment.

By written request, the Commissioner of Forests, Parks & Recreation may waive this prohibition under conditions that ensure that the firewood poses minimal threat to forest health. Violations may result in confiscation of firewood and/or a civil citation. The rules are to take effect on May 1, 2016.

For more information on the quarantine and the scheduled hearings, visit: http://fpr.vermont.gov/fpr.vermont.gov/forest/forest_health/health_management/firewood_quarantine.  Questions or written comments can also be addressed to Barbara Schultz, Forest Health Program manager, at barbara.schultz@vermont.gov.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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