The state Department of Agriculture is urging residents to avoid transporting firewood that could spread invasive critters. The agency has kicked off similar public awareness campaigns during the past two years, saying efforts started as a response to the threat of wood-boring insects that have defoliated forests and can travel inside firewood. Department spokeswoman Pam Juker says most people don't realize that buying firewood from a local source is critical to helping prevent the spread of these invasive insects. The Times-News reports most of these bugs live under the tree bark and remain hidden while the wood is transported. State officials are advising residents to buy firewood locally or within 50 miles of where it will be burned.

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