COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS) is urging all Texans to help reduce the spread of oak wilt and invasive insects when collecting and purchasing firewood this fall and winter.

According to a press release from TAMFS, firewood is one of the main ways many of the insects and diseases are moved, regardless of how seasoned or old the firewood is. Even wood that looks clean and healthy may still have insect eggs or fungal spores that can start new infestations.

“The emerald ash borer, present in North Texas, has killed millions of ash trees across the eastern U.S. The redbay ambrosia beetle continues to spread west, killing redbay and sassafras trees along the way. Similarly, native pathogens such as oak wilt, have killed oak trees in Central Texas in epidemic proportions,” TAMFS said in the press release.

Texans can help prevent the spread of these insects and diseases by purchasing, collecting and burning firewood locally.

“The best rule of thumb is to burn the firewood close to where it’s bought or picked up. Moving firewood can easily introduce insects and diseases to new areas, particularly during hunting and camping seasons,” said Demian Gomez, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator in the press release.

These insects and diseases cause severe ecological and economic impacts over time.

For more information, visit www.dontmovefirewood.org