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YOUR FIREWOOD PERMIT
To cut firewood for personal use on National Forest lands in Idaho, you must have a Personal Use Firewood Permit. At $5.00 per cord, you can purchase a permit for no less than four cords ($20) and no more than twelve ($60). A permit is good for gathering firewood from the time of purchase through March 31 of the following year. Permits are available at Forest Service offices.
If you plan on cutting firewood on our Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District, you may purchase a wood permit by mail.
On the Priest Lake Ranger District, permits are also available at Ace Hardware in Priest River. To cut firewood for commercial resale, you must obtain a Forest Products Sale Permit (known as a Green Slip) from a ranger station.
Keep your permit on the dashboard of your vehicle where it is visible through the windshield. Fill out the back portion of the permit at the cutting site before you haul each load. A Forest Service officer may check and verify your loads recorded on the back of your permit. Travel together when hauling wood in more than one vehicle for the same permit. To cut firewood for someone else (third party), authorization must be approved when purchasing the permit. A lost or stolen permit cannot be refunded.
WHERE CAN I CUT?
Check with your nearest Forest Service office to find out if there are areas specifically designated for firewood cutting. If there are none, you can cut anywhere on the Forest with the following exceptions:
Private Property: Privately owned lands within the National Forests are often marked by signs and fences. Look at your Forest map to be sure you are not cutting on private land.
Active Timber Sale: Timber sales are usually marked with a sign or painted trees. Please don't cut anything in these areas.
WHAT CAN I CUT?
If you don't know the types of trees in the area, go to the Trees of North Idaho guide. Before you cut a tree, be sure it's dead. Check to see there are no green needles left. You can cut any dead standing or down tree for firewood with the following exceptions:
Larch: Be careful to avoid cutting live larch (tamarack) trees. These trees lose their needles each fall. Look on the ground to see if needles have recently fallen. Check to see if the bark inside is tight. If it is, the tree is probably alive. Go to the Trees of North Idaho guide for more information about larch.
Cedar: Do not cut standing or down dead cedar trees. Cedar is marketable timber for fences and shakes but is not suitable for firewood. Go to the Trees of North Idaho guide for more information about cedar.
Wildlife trees: Standing and down dead trees (snags) provide a source of food, nests, perches, and protective cover for many birds and mammals in the forest. Please don't cut trees with paint marks or signs, broken tops, trunk holes or visible nests.
Please help us protect water quality and fish habitat. Avoid cutting, piling, or gathering firewood near any stream, pond, lake, marshy or wet area. Check your wood cutting permit for guidance on specific distances.
THE BEST FIREWOOD
Some trees burn hotter than others. The list below shows common types of trees in our area and their heat values in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A higher value indicates more heat.
MEASURING AND HAULING FIREWOOD
Firewood is commonly measured in cords. A standard cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack 4 feet wide and 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Hauling firewood in lengths greater than 8 feet must be approved first in writing at a Forest Service office.
CHAINSAW AND FIRE SAFETY
As a chainsaw operator, you must have a serviceable fire extinguisher (8 oz. liquid chemical or 1 lb. dry chemical) and shovel available at all times.
1. Your saw must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor.
2. You can avoid starting a fire with your chainsaw by following these common sense rules:
4. Be aware of the dangers when cutting near or along roads.
BEFORE YOU GO...
Please leave your wood cutting area clean. Scatter debris away from roads, culverts and ditches. Pack your garbage out with you.
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Last updated: 07/31/09
Idaho Panhandle National Forests / USDA Forest Service