Permits to gather firewood from piles near the South Summit of Loup Loup, east of Twisp, will go on sale at the Methow Valley Ranger District beginning Friday (April 7).

“Some roads, where winter logging has occurred, will be snow-free and dry enough to open up a little early this year,” said Methow Valley District Ranger Michael Liu. “Treetops and material that wasn’t suitable for hauling to the mill, but is great for firewood, has been piled close to roads, making it easier for folks to get to.” 

The sale of firewood permits each spring is timed to avoid damage to soft road surfaces during snowmelt. In average years, that occurs after May 1.

Those planning outings are encouraged to check road conditions ahead of time. Washouts are closing roads in the Black Canyon and Gold Creek areas. Copies of the firewood cutting policy and maps of the early season firewood opportunities will be available at the Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Road in Winthrop, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Meanwhile, poor road conditions are delaying the issuance of firewood gathering permits in most of the rest of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service said. Most national forest roads remain snow-covered and not accessible by wheeled vehicles.

Ranger district personnel across the forest will assess road conditions as snow melts off.  

“Our normal woodcutting season is May 1 through Dec 31,” said Liu. “We may open certain areas a little early this year because winter logging operations plowed out certain roads and they are melting and drying out faster as a result, but all other areas are still snow covered.” 

Depending upon road and weather conditions, woodcutting permits will be sold starting mid- to late April on the Tonasket and Cle Elum Ranger Districts. Woodcutting permits will be sold starting May 1 at all other Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest ranger stations, headquarters office and Forest Service office at the Omak Visitor Center.