JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking deer hunters to help protect the state’s forest resources by exercising two kinds of campfire caution.
Anyone who has ever heard of Smokey Bear knows the importance of making sure campfires don’t cause forest fires. Rainfall predicted for the opening of firearms deer season Nov. 16 reduces the danger of wildfire. But with drought conditions still prevailing in much of Missouri, caution is still sensible. Important measures include removing all burnable material from the area around the fire ring, never leaving a fire unattended, and thoroughly extinguishing fires when not needed.
Less well known, but potentially more damaging, is the possibility of spreading forest pests by moving firewood from place to place. The gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle and thousand cankers disease are among pests with the potential to devastate Missouri’s multi-million dollar forest-products industry, not to mention the ecological damage they could cause.
These pests can hitch rides on firewood moved from one area to another. The best way to avoid introducing these pests to new areas is to obtain and burn firewood locally.
“Signs of infestation are easy to overlook,” says Conservation Department Forest Entomologist Rob Lawrence. “The safest way to keep from moving these pests is to buy firewood in the area where you hunt or camp and burn it all up before leaving.”
For more information about the forest pests mentioned above, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/16134, mdc.mo.gov/node/3880, mdc.mo.gov/node/14790, or mdc.mo.gov/node/15513.
- Jim Low -