DAVIS, Calif. - University farm advisors here are urging consumers to use local firewood this winter to avoid moving pests and plant diseases into and around California.

Firewood is one of the least regulated resource industries in California, asserts Tom Scott, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC-Riverside. He said moving wood increases the threat of such pests and diseases as the goldspotted oak borer, sudden oak death and emerald ash borer.

Extension officials are working with the U.S. Forest Service, the California Firewood Task Force and other agencies to educate and discourage woodcutters and firewood dealers from transporting infested wood, according to a UC news release.

Consumers are encouraged not to buy green firewood from unknown sources, to ask where wood originated and what precautions have been taken to prevent the spread of pests and to beware of D-shaped exit holes in wood. Wood should preferably be bark-free or have been dried and cured for a year before moving, the release stated.

For information, visit firewood.ca.gov .

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