Winter Poison Ivy Peril

winter poison ivy vine

I recently got an email from a fellow who had cut down a tree and cut it up for firewood. It had been covered in poison ivy vines and he got a terrible case of it. Cutting the vines with a chain saw will unleash and splatter the plant sap all over, which is a way to get a hall of fame rash.

He asked if he could burn the firewood, now that the tree was cut up. 

That is not an easy question to answer. Certainly you would have to peel all the vines from the wood before you burned it, but then would you still be safe from smoke from the little attachment hairs still on the bark? Probably. But I personally would feel itchy just thinking about it.

I suggested he either leave the wood to rot in the woods or see about finding a machine to strip all the bark (which could get him yet another rash...).

Hairy vines are nearly all poison ivy (Virginia creeper vines have coarse hair, poison ivy hairs are quite fine). The thicker the vine, the hairier. But the tiny vines that start climbing only have tiny hairs behind them that attach to the tree, or bulidng.