Released on February 8, 2010
In Saskatchewan, it is illegal to transport, store, sell or use elm firewood because of the risk of spreading devastating tree diseases, including Dutch elm disease.
Anyone removing elm trees, including Siberian elm shelterbelts, must dispose of the wood properly, by burning or burying it. Check with local municipal authorities for designated disposal sites and methods.
"We know of cases where landowners removing elm trees planned to sell the wood for firewood or store it to use themselves, unaware of the threat," Ministry of Environment Dutch elm disease program administrator Jeff Gooliaff said. "Making use of the wood might seem like a good idea, but it can put all the trees in your community at risk."
Transporting other types of wood with the bark on can also be hazardous. For example, moving wood from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle can help the beetles to spread into new areas, with potentially disastrous results. The beetle has devastated British Columbia's lodgepole pine forests and has moved into Alberta. As yet, none have been found in Saskatchewan's northwest pine forests, but the beetles are found in lodgepole pine forests in the Cypress Hills area.
"It's important to remember that any wood with the bark on is a potential hazard," Gooliaff said. "You could inadvertently bring insect and disease threats into Saskatchewan or transport them around the province, with serious economic and environmental consequences."
For more information, call 1-800-SASK ELM (1-800-727-5356).
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