Firewood rules and resources
To protect Wisconsin’s trees, obtain firewood near where you will use it or use certified firewood that has been properly heat-treated or aged to kill any infesting pests or diseases.
Firewood can transport harmful tree problems to your backyard, street or favorite campsite. Just one firewood log can easily hide insects such as emerald ash borer or spongy moth, or the tiny spores of a tree-killing fungal disease such as oak wilt.
Instead of taking firewood along on your next camping trip or bringing some home with you from far away, get your firewood where you're going to use it. Make sure it is from trees harvested nearby, or buy firewood that has been processed to eliminate pests and diseases.
Wisconsin regulates the movement of firewood in the state to help protect our trees and forests. Property owners and managers may also have additional restrictions. Here are some basic rules.
Rules for all of Wisconsin
There are two quarantines that regulate the movement of firewood in Wisconsin. As of 2018, the entire state of Wisconsin is quarantined for emerald ash borer (EAB), which means the quarantine no longer regulates county-to-county firewood movement in the state.
The quarantine for the spongy moth prohibits the movement of firewood east to west from infested to non-quarantined WI counties.
If moving firewood to or through tribal properties, contact the tribe for its policy on allowable firewood.
County, federal and private campgrounds may have their own firewood restrictions. Call ahead or look online for specific information, including whether firewood is available at the campground.
Rules for state properties
To prevent the spread of emerald ash borer and other invasive insects and diseases moving in firewood, the DNR developed a permanent rule which prohibits visitors from bringing firewood into Wisconsin state parks and other state-managed lands from locations further than 10 miles away from the property (effective June 1, 2014). Treated, pest-free wood from state certified vendors is exempted from this regulation.
To help with trip planning, each state campground has a map showing the 10-mile radius. To help protect the state’s forests from harmful pests and diseases, obtain your firewood at the property, from within this 10-mile radius or buy state-certified firewood if purchasing the wood more than 10 miles from the property.
State trails and wildlife areas
You can purchase firewood in or near almost every Wisconsin state park or forest property. In unstaffed campgrounds or remote campsites, you may find firewood available locally – either for sale in nearby communities or on the property as dead and downed wood. Firewood Scout is a free tool for finding firewood retailers by location.
Firewood that has been certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has been processed to kill potential pests and diseases hiding inside. It is legal to move this wood around the state regardless of quarantines and it may be brought to state parks, forests and other DNR campsites regardless of where it was obtained. Wisconsin certified firewood has this seal on its label. Learn more information by reading a DATCP certified firewood brochure.
Tribes and non-DNR campgrounds may or may not allow certified firewood. Contact the properties in question.
Tips for your camping trip at a DNR state park or other property
- Allowable firewood types
- Allowed firewood meets the requirements in the “rules for state properties” section or is DATCP certified. Dimensional lumber (such as 2x4 or 4x6 scraps from a building project) without paint or preservatives will be allowed on state property at the discretion of park staff.
- Not allowed
- Full or partial pallets, skids or slabs. This wood may be fresh enough to harbor pests and has traveled long distances.
- Wood that is painted, treated with preservatives or made up of a composite of wood and glue such as chipboard and plywood. Toxins are released when this wood is burned, causing a serious health hazard.
- Most parks have a Friends Group that sells quality firewood. Proceeds help to pay for educational programs, buildings, picnic shelters, needed equipment, and other park projects. In addition, individuals or businesses usually have firewood available for sale close to the park.
- Use up the firewood you have at each place on your camping vacation. Do not take it with you to another destination.
- When buying firewood, make sure the pieces are dry and have either no bark or bark that is loose (a sign that the wood is very dry). This will reduce the threat of spreading diseases and your fire will be easier to start.
- Reduce your need for open fire by cooking over gas or charcoal. Instead of an evening campfire, explore new night-time activities such as star-gazing or viewing wildlife by flashlight.
- If you are a camper from outside of Wisconsin, please do not bring firewood with you. If it originated from more than 10 miles from the state campground and isn’t certified, you will have to surrender it before checking into your campsite.