If you are a hiker, a birdwatcher, a biker, or otherwise enjoy getting out in Washington’s forests, meadows, and deserts, you may see invasive species such as common crupina, garlic mustard, knapweeds, leafy spurge, or yellow starthistle. Or, if you’re camping and lighting a fire at the end of the day, your firewood could be a temporary home to non-native, wood-boring insects.
What Can I Do?
Don’t move firewood. To avoid introducing non-native insects and diseases from your firewood, buy your firewood near where you plan to burn it.
- Obtain your firewood near where you camp. Firewood that is produced locally has less risk of introducing new pests and diseases to an area.
- If you bring firewood, burn all of it. The longer it remains on the ground, the more chance that a pest or disease will move from the wood into the living trees nearby.
For more information, see the following resources:
- Don’t Move Firewood (Washington)
- Why should I care about invasive species?
- National Don’t Move Firewood Campaign
Clean cars, equipment, personal gear, and animals. To prevent invasive species from hitching a ride as you move through natural areas, you can take the following actions:
- Regularly inspect and remove caked-on soil and seeds from tires and undercarriages of any vehicles or equipment that moved between potentially infested and uninfested areas. See:
- Limit your travel through infestations, particularly when seeds are viable.
- Brush off or wash dogs that have been running around natural areas.
- Before and after traveling through natural areas, inspect and brush your footwear and clothing clean of caked-on soil and seeds, especially if you walk through an area of heavy invasive species infestation.
- Wear gaiters to prevent sticky seeds from getting stuck in your socks.
- Shake out your tent, camp chairs, sleeping bags, and other accessories before leaving a campsite to remove any plant or seed materials.
- For more detailed information, see Reducing Accidental Introductions of Invasive Species
Report and help eradicate invasive species and promote native and desired species.
- Report invasive species online.
- Learn to identify invasive species, using resources such as the Washington Noxious Weed Control Board’s Guides for Identifying Weeds.
- Join in local weed pulls and volunteer to monitor for these species. For example, you could volunteer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuges or the Green Seattle Partnership.
Use certified weed-free feed for pack stock. In particular, feed weed-free forage for several days before transporting stock to new locations. For information about the state and federal programs, see the Washington Wilderness Hay & Mulch Program and its certified growers.