Firewood Cutting Allowed In National Forest Starting Monday
A number of programs will be starting on May 1 in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Among them is the availability of woodcutting permits for people to cut firewood from the forest.
Forest Service spokesperson Robin DeMario says the practice is popular this time of year.
"Most people who collect firewood know to do it in the early summer, late May, June, even into July, and then to expect, a lot of times, to have those restrictions put into place as fire season progresses and conditions get hot and dry out in the woods," said DeMario.
The best woodcutting times are in the spring and fall, according to the Forest Service. Permits allow cutting from May 1 through December 31.
Woodcutting permits are free and available at ranger stations in the Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River and Cle Elum Ranger Districts. They’re also available at other locations listed below for a small fee.
Woodcutters will need a permit, firewood tags, a map, and also have a copy of the regulations before they can cut and transport firewood.
DeMario says only downed and dead trees can be collected.
"You have to know what a dead tree looks like because some of our trees like the tamarack, that's a western larch, it loses its needles in the fall," DeMario said. "And so, basically it looks like everything's gone. So, that's later in the season. You definitely don't want to cut the tamaracks."
Firewood cutting is only allowed in certain areas that are designated on maps wood cutters are required to have. The exception is the National Forest lands in Okanogan County, where firewood gathering is allowed anywhere within 200 feet of a signed, unblocked forest service road as long as cutters are outside riparian areas.
DeMario is advising woodcutters that access at upper elevations may be difficult where forest roads remain snow covered, partially snow covered, and muddy in places.
Woodcutters will be able to obtain up to 12 cords per household per year, but only in four or more cord increments at a time.
A standard, full cord of wood is a volume of 128 cubic feet, measured as a pile 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. A full cord can weigh up to 5,000 pounds.
For comparison, the average pickup truck can hold 1/2 cord of wood.
Commercial firewood permits will be available to purchase from the Cle Elum, Chelan, and Methow Valley Ranger Districts.
Woodcutting Permit Vendors (all charge a $2 administrative fee)
Hank’s Harvest Foods
412 E Methow Valley Hwy
Open 7 days/week 7 am - 9 pm
Hank’s Mini Market
410 E Methow Valley Hwy
Open 7 days/week 5 am - 10 pm
Pardner’s Mini Market
900 State Route 20
Open 7 days/week 6 am - 12 am
Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce Office
609 N Main St.
M-F: 9 am - 5 pm
Sat: 10 am - 2 pm