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Forest Service revises rules for cutting firewood

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By The Staff

TELL CITY – The Hoosier National Forest has revised its firewood-cutting program in response to increased demand and available downed trees in the wake of recent wind and ice storms.

"We have always had a firewood permit program," said Anne Carey, Brownstown-Tell City District ranger, "but the severe weather impacts from Hurricane Ike and the recent ice storm, plus wood from our timber-sale program, have created more opportunities to provide the public with firewood."  

Carey reminds those interested that a firewood-cutting permit is required for any firewood taken from national-forest land. For more information on permits, call the Forest Service Tell City office at 547-7051.

Common Questions

What is a firewood permit? A firewood permit is the Forest Service giving permission for individuals to cut downed trees, and in some very limited cases, standing hazardous trees in the Hoosier National Forest.

What kinds of permits are available? There are two types of permits.

• Firewood permits are available for trees that are down in areas identified by the Forest Service within 70 feet of a roadway, in closed timber-sale areas designated as firewood cutting sites, special firewood areas or other management areas where a quantity of wood is available and the access and parking are reasonably good.

This permit carries a $20 fee and is valid for a maximum of three months. Up to two cords (or four pickup truckloads) of wood are available with each permit.

• Free-use permits are available to adjacent land-owners when trees threaten the landowner's property. This permit has no charge and is valid for a maximum of three months.

How do I know if I need a permit? You may not cut any trees in the Hoosier National Forest unless a permit is issued. Only down or hazardous trees assigned on the permit are allowed to be cut.

However, if you are camping in the Hoosier National Forest in a designated recreation area or dispersed campsite you are not required to have a permit to gather small amounts of firewood for your campfire.

How do I obtain a firewood or free use permit? You are required to contact a Hoosier National Forest office to request a permit. A description of the area in which you wish to cut down hazardous trees is needed to determine if the permit will be made available.

Prospective purchasers are encouraged to check access and wood availability before purchasing a firewood permit. Permits are sold during normal working hours.

Emerald Ash Borer

Firewood removed from Forest Service land must be used in the county from where it's taken. There are others restrictions in moving wood in areas under emerald ash borer quarantines. Perry County is not under a quarantine but portions of the national forest in other areas are.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources regulates the movement of wood and wood byproducts that may be affected by the EAB. Check with the IDNR to locate potentially quarantined counties before purchasing a permit. For more information on the quarantine contact (866) 663-9684.