RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As the weather gets cooler state departments in Virginia are warning residents about some of the risks involved with moving firewood from one place to another.

While seemingly harmless, moving firewood can assist in the spread of non-native invasive pests, leading to the potential for the destruction of crops and infection of entire forests, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“Invasive insects and diseases can lurk both inside and on the surface of firewood, so transporting firewood can allow potentially destructive and non-native organisms to move hundreds of miles and start infestations in new places,” said Joseph Guthrie, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “When traveling from one location to another, never transport firewood to your destination unless it is heat-treated and certified.”

Potentially infested firewood could be hiding pests such as the invasive emerald ash borer, spongy moth, Asian longhorned beetle, and spotted lanternfly – each of which is seen as a threat to native plant species.

To limit the potential for spreading the destructive creatures, the Virginia Department of Forestry says a little extra planning can go a long way. Campers should set time aside in their trip to buy firewood in the area near the campsite, or if allowed, gather it onsite. Packaged, heat-treated firewood is also a good option for those wishing to travel with it – as long as the wood stays sealed through the journey. All unused firewood should be left behind.

Local firewood dealers across Virginia can be found by clicking here.