The Recreation and Conservation Office is doubling down on its new firewood campaign, "Buy It Where You Burn It."

The campaign has an emphatic name and a worthwhile purpose: to stave off the emerald ash borer, a nonnative tree-killing insect. This tiny beetle has laid waste to acres upon acres of ash trees.

How does it work? According to an RCO press release, "The insect’s larvae burrow under the tree bark and eat the sapwood."

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"Once damaged, the bark can’t transport water and nutrients, causing the tree to die gradually. These invasive pests can be found in firewood at all stages of their life cycles."

Having wreaked havoc on places like Minnesota, the emerald ash borer is rapidly expanding westward. The problem lies partly with outdoorsmen who move firewood carelessly, thereby emboldening tree-killing insects.

Firewood should be sourced locally. This is broken down succinctly on "When we say local firewood, we are referring to the closest convenient source of wood that you can find. That might be from down the street, or a state forest in your county."

"As a very general rule of thumb, 50 miles is too far, and 10 miles or less is best." Click here to read the FAQ in its entirety.

Not all firewood is created equal. Only heat-treated, professionally packaged and sealed firewood can be moved safely.

It should be stressed that the emerald ash borer is not a menace to ash trees in Washington. The bug is stubbornly active in dozens of states, but for now Washington isn't one of them.

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