The Rundown on the New Firewood Rule

November 18, 2010

In order to protect Florida’s forests and trees, Florida established a firewood and unprocessed wood product regulation to prevent the introduction of unwanted wood pests and diseases into the state in August. This rule was developed as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other states and multiple industries.

Since 1980, more than 500 new species of insects and mites have been collected in Florida and are considered established. Florida’s list of most unwanted pests is growing, and pests in other states could spread to Florida through the movement of infested firewood. Some of these pests are:

  • Asian longhorned beetle: attacks, weakens and kills healthy hardwood trees
  • Emerald ash borer: kills most varieties of healthy ash trees
  • European wood wasp: infects many species of pine trees with fungus which kills the trees
  • Sudden oak death: weakens and kills oak trees; Rhododendron is a common host
  • Redbay ambrosia beetle: infects and kills redbay trees with fungus within months

 The firewood rule, Rule 5B-65 Firewood and Unprocessed Wood Products, establishes regulations to prevent the spread of these unwanted pests in Florida.

 5B-65 Rule Requirements Summary:

  • Commercial shipments of regulated articles will be allowed entry into Florida with a permit. Uncertified or infested shipments or regulated articles shall be quarantined, issued a Stop Sale and Hold Order, or denied entry into Florida.
  • Non-commercial shipments of regulated articles entering the state through the Department’s agricultural interdiction stations without certification will be allowed entry only when issued a  Report of Non-Commercial (Homeowner) Plants or Firewood Certification in Transit from Other States.
  • Commercial shipments of regulated articles moving intrastate are required to be accompanied by a certificate of inspection.
  • Locally produced or harvested firewood and unprocessed wood products harvested or produced within a 50-mile radius of the distribution point and not moved more than 50 miles from the point of origin are exempted and may be transported from areas contiguous to Florida without a certificate of treatment if the articles are accompanied by a proper bill of lading, proof of origin and any applicable federal certificates for shipments originating from a USDA-regulated area.
  • No locally produced firewood outside Miami-Dade County may enter Miami-Dade County unless treated and certified by the Department.

 Rule Exemptions:

  • Cut Christmas trees may enter the state provided they are accompanied by a federal certificate required for movement from regulated areas of the United States or a certificate of inspected issued by the Department of Agriculture in the state of origin.
  • Primary and secondary forest products originating from states contiguous to Florida and transported from processing at mills and plants may enter the state.
  • Commercial shipments of processed mulch or processed wood chips for cooking destined for further distribution at retail outlets may enter the state.

 Questions or comments can be sent to dpi-blog@doacs.state.fl.us.

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