Personal use firewood collection is now available on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land across Central Oregon and will remain open through Nov. 30.
Firewood permits are on sale at Forest Service and BLM offices, including the Crooked River Grassland office in Madras at the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce (274 SW Fourth St.) and at participating retailers across Central Oregon, including Bi-Mart in Madras (1575 SW Highway 97).
Permits sell for $10 per cord with a minimum two-cord purchase required. Each household may purchase up to eight cords annually. Permit holders will receive a "Firewood Synopsis," a publication illustrating the areas where the public has access to collect firewood after purchasing a permit.
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to read the Firewood Synopsis in order to understand which tree species are available for firewood cutting and gathering in the designated areas. It is prohibited to possess or remove trees that have been cut illegally.
Many areas have different opening dates, and some have off-road vehicle use restrictions. Permit holders need to pay particular attention to the "Rules and Regulations" as well as the specific cutting designations listed on each cutting area map in the synopsis.
Compliance with those regulations will allow the Forest Service and the BLM to continue offering new cutting areas to the public.
Firewood cutters are required to carry a shovel, an 8-ounce capacity or larger fire extinguisher, and have their chainsaw equipped with an approved spark arrester when cutting wood.
During early spring months, many forest roads are still inaccessible due to snow. Forest visitors are asked to use care to avoid getting stuck or causing extensive and illegal resource damage to the land and vegetation.
As the hot, dry summer months approach, federal land managers may raise the Industrial Fire Precaution Level. The IFPL system regulates spark-emitting devices on timber sales, service contracts, fuelwood and special use permits.
IFPL restrictions could limit the hours that firewood cutting is available, or prohibit them entirely during periods of high fire danger. Restrictions will be announced by 6 p.m. on the day prior to the restrictions going into effect and will be posted to Central Oregon National Forest websites and through the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center at gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/districts/COIDC.
Be sure to "know before you go." Grab a free copy of the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the area where you'll be cutting, or download a free version onto your smartphone, to ensure you are travelling on designated roads.
Find the free Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps online. For Deschutes National Forest, see go.usa.gov/xQKGq, or for Ochoco National Forest, see go.usa.gov/xQKGa.
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