Beginning Wednesday (April 1), personal-use firewood cutting permits are available for purchase at the U.S. Forest Service office in Winthrop.
“We’re opening the Methow Valley Ranger District a month earlier this year due to the low snowpack and associated early access to the forest,” said Mike Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger.
“Cutting western larch will still be prohibited until May 1 on the Methow Valley Ranger District though,” said Liu. “We implemented this restriction in response to so many woodcutters indicating confusion over whether western larch trees are dead or dormant. Waiting until the larch needles begin to show each spring helps to ensure that live trees aren’t mistaken for dead and harvested as firewood.”
The minimum purchase price for firewood permits is $20 for four cords, with each cord costing $5. Each year, a household may purchase permits for up to 12 cords. One cord of wood measures four feet by four feet by eight feet.
The Forest Service suggests firewood gatherers check the forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/conditions, or contact the local ranger district for up-to-date road conditions or closure information.
Some people consider spring or fall the best times to cut wood because the early and late seasons avoid cutting restrictions that may be in place associated with fire danger.
In the springtime though, road conditions may vary throughout the day as temperatures change. Travelers are asked to avoid driving on slippery or muddy roads to help prevent rutting.
Firewood permits are good through Dec. 31 in the calendar year they are purchased or until areas are no longer accessible. For more information about the woodcutting program, visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/okawen/passes-permits, or call the Ranger District office in Winthrop at 996-4003.