Fuelwood Permits


 Cost | Where to Buy | Rules | Where to Cut Wood |

Stay Out of Riparian Areas! | Permit Conditions


Sawtooth Fuelwood Photo


Southwest Idaho Fuelwood Permits

Personal use fuelwood permits for the Payette and Boise National Forests will go on sale beginning Sunday, May 15. Check with forest vendors for Sunday hours.


On the Sawtooth National Forest, the Minidoka Ranger District and Fairfield Ranger District issue permits beginning Sunday, May 15, but permits for the Ketchum Ranger District and Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), will be delayed until Tuesday, May 31 due to melting snowpack.  Call the SNRA at 208-727-5013 or Ketchum Ranger District at 208-622-0090 to check snowmelt and road conditions in these areas.


Permits are $12.50 per cord with a 2-cord minimum and a 10-cord maximum per household.  Permits will be available at USDA Forest Service Ranger District offices, the Interagency Visitor Information Center at 1387 South Vinnell Way, Boise, Idaho and private vendors in Southwest Idaho, (see attached list).


The Payette National Forest has four free-use areas, which are located in the Hazard Lake, Kinney Point, Secesh Meadows/Warren and Big Creek areas. A free-use permit is required for these areas and can be obtained at the associated Payette Ranger District office along with specific location information and permit use requirements. Free-use fuelwood counts toward the 10-cord maximum per household.  


The Boise National Forest has closures in the Hulls Gulch and Rocky Canyon areas of the Mountain Home Ranger District. 


“Please check this year’s fuelwood brochure and current Motor Vehicle Use Maps to make sure you are cutting in an area open to fuelwood gathering. Also, pay special attention to areas with restoration activities, roads may be signed,” said Boise National Forest Fuelwood Coordinator Audrey Karpe. “Remember all Forests have regulations in place regarding not cutting neither dead nor living whitebark pine trees which are declining and are of critical importance to several wildlife species.” 


Each Forest fuelwood permit is valid for use on any of the three Forests. All motorized travel related to fuelwood gathering must be in full accordance with Forest Service travel regulations for the area as shown in the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM), unless specifically exempted in the fuelwood permit.


Once the snow melts, the public is encouraged to cut fuelwood early in the year because fire restrictions may impact the cutting season later in the summer. However, early season fuelwood cutters should be very careful with wet road conditions and avoid them if rutting or getting stuck is a potential. Fuelwood cutting is not allowed within riparian areas (adjacent to creeks and rivers).


Regulations for each forest are available when permits are issued. For additional information, contact the local Ranger District offices, or Forest websites.   



Permit Cost

There is a 2 cord minimum purchase for the personal use firewood permits. The minimum permit is $25.00 ($12.50 per cord). You can buy up to 10 cords per family per year at $12.50 per cord.

With your firewood permit purchase, you will receive the permit, load tickets (in 1/4 cord increments), and a Boise or Payette National Forest firewood map to help you locate firewood wood in an appropriate area. You must have a permit, tags and Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of the area you will be cutting in.


The person gathering the fuelwood must be present to purchase and sign for the permit, tags and fuelwood brochure. 

Also, obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM)  for the area where you plan to harvest the wood and comply with MVUM regulations.

The Personal Use Firewood Permit is for your own personal use.



What is a Cord of Wood?

One cord of firewood measures 4ft. X 4ft. X 8ft. which equals 128 cubic feet and weighs approximately 2662 lbs. The average half-ton pickup can carry 1/2 cord of dry wood without overloading the vehicle. Remember to validate your firewood with load tickets before you leave the area where you cut.


Where Can You Go?

Not all lands on the National Forest are open to firewood cutting. Please consult the firewood map to be sure you are in an area where cutting is permitted. In some areas on the Forest, only downed logs are available. Remember that not all land within the Forest is publicly owned. It is your responsibility to be certain you are not trespassing on private land. The permit is for Boise, Payette and Sawtooth National Forest lands only, not State, BLM, or private lands.

For information about wood gathering on State or Private lands please contact the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association (SITPA) in McCall 208-634-2268 or State of Idaho Dept. of Lands (Boise) 208-334-3488.

The firewood map does not have road openings, closures or restrictions posted on it. The firewood map should be used in conjunction with the Forest Map which is sold at Ranger Stations and the Interagency Visitor Center in Boise.

If you need help finding firewood ask for help at the nearest Ranger District Office. They may have areas where they want to remove small diameter trees.


Stay Out Of Riparian Areas!

Riparian areas include the trees and other plants that grow along streams, rivers, and lakes. These areas are important to the forest. The plants hold soil in place, absorb excess water, provide shade and shelter, and filter runoff.

Riparian Conservation Areas (RCAs) are zones that protect riparian areas. They include the land 300 feet along both side of streams, rivers, lakes, and wet areas. The firewood permit prohibits firewood cutting, vehicle and trailer parking, slash piling and travel within RCAs.

To protect valuable riparian areas, please observe the following restrictions for firewood harvesting in riparian areas:

NO fuelwood cutting is allowed within 300 ft. on either side of perennial streams. (Perennial streams flow year-round.) Perennial streams are shown on the map that comes with your fuelwood permit.

NO fuelwood cutting is allowed within 100 ft. of either side of intermittent streams. (These are streams that do not have water in them all year. At times they may look like dry stream beds.) Intermittent streams are not shown on the permit map.

Allowed exceptions fo the RCA buffer zones: When a road runs parallel to the stream and the stream is on the downhill side of the road, fuelwood on uphill side of the road may be removed if the fuelwood is not in the RCA of another stream on the uphill side of the road. (See fuelwood brochure page 19 for drawing of this situation.)

NO fuelwood cutting within 300 feet of these road edges or shoulders as they are visual protection zones:

Boise National Forest

1) 300 ft. either side of State Hwy 21 from Grimes Creek northeast to Banner Summit,
2) 300 ft. either side of State Hwy 55 within the Forest boundary,
3) 300 ft. either side of Warm Lake Hwy (NF Hwy 22) from the Forest boundary to Landmark.

Payette National Forest

1) 150 ft.either side of the Warren Wagon Road from the Forest boundary to Secesh Summit,
2) On the stream side of Lick Creek Road.


You may cut dead and down trees, with these exceptions:

DO NOT cut dead or live whitebark pine trees.  MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHITEBARK PINE TREES.

DO NOT cut live Larch (Tamarack) trees. These trees lose their needles each fall. Before cutting what appears to be a dead larch, look on the ground to see if needles have recently fallen or check just inside the bark to see if the tree is still alive. If the bark is tight, the tree is probably alive.

DO NOT cut Wildlife Trees. Standing, dead trees (snags) play a role in supporting wildlife populations in the forest. They are a source of food, nests, perches, and protective cover for many birds and mammals. Removal of snags for firewood purposes must, therefore, be carefully managed.

DO NOT cut trees that have a sign on that says "Do Not Cut for Firewood". Typically these are found in active timber sale areas. Trees with paint on them are included in timber sales. A tree that has recently died may still be salvageable and sold. Do NOT cut trees that are painted or bear this sign. Log decks are usually located along roads in an active timber sale area. These logs have been skidded and decked for hauling by the timber sale purchaser, and are not available for public use. Do not cut these log decks for firewood.

Remember Slash Disposal is an integral part of this process. DO NOT leave slash in road ditches.

It is your responsibility to abide by the rules and regulations of this program and failure to do so will result in a violation of the permit. You may be subject to fines, penalties and further prosecution.

Things to Remember:
Cut firewood cleanly and safely. Wear personal protective equipment.

Remember your fire prevention tools: an 8 ounce minimum capacity fire extinguisher and a size "0" or larger shovel. Help prevent forest fires.

Make sure your chain saw is legal to operate. See Idaho's rules and regulation pertaining to fire protection.

Report Fires To: Boise National Forest Dispatch at 208-384-3400 or SITPA 208-634-2268 for Boise Forest;
McCall Dispatch at 208-634-0397 for Payette Forest.

Report Illegal Activities on the Forest to: 208-373-4296 or Dispatch 208-384-3400 for Boise Forest; 208-634-0733 for Payette Forest.


Conditions of our Boise National Forest Noncommercial Firewood Permit

This permit applies to Boise and Payette National Forest lands only as designated on the fuelwood map. It is not valid on state or private land within Forest boundaries. This permit expires on November 30 of the year issued. The Forest Service retains the right to close areas or roads at any time due to adverse weather conditions, fire danger, or other reasons.

General Conditions:

Subject to, and in strict compliance with, all the following conditions (both General and Other) and those listed above, the Permittee named herein is authorized to harvest and remove the forest product described above. [described on front of permit]

1. This sale is final and payments are not subject to refund.

2. Permit must be in the Permittee's possession while harvesting and transporting products. Copies are not allowed

3.This permit is nontransferable.

4. This permit and activities hereunder are subject to all applicable Federal statutes and regulations and State and local laws. In case of conflict, Federal statutes and regulations shall take precedence. Where applicable, a Memorandum of Agreement between the Forest Service and BLM governs administration and enforcement of this permit (Sec. 330, P.L. 106-291).

5. Motorized vehicles are not allowed off existing roads that are open to the public, unless otherwise specified within this permit. Permittee parking shall not block traffic or impede fire or emergency vehicles.

6. Permittee shall remove all trash and litter resulting from Permittee's activities.

7. Concurrent with forest product removal activities, slash and unused vegetative material resulting from Permittee's activities shall be removed from roads and ditches and scattered in the surrounding landscape.

8. Permittee shall comply with fire requirements and current restrictions to prevent forest fires.

9. Permittee shall pay for or repair all damage to natural features; riparian areas; other vegetation' and roads, trails, fences, ditches, telephone lines, or other improvements resulting from Permittee's activities under this permit.

10. The Forest Service and/or/BLM reserve the right to unilaterally revoke this permit for Permittee's noncompliance with its term and conditions of when revocation is in the public's interest.

11. Regardless of whether forest products are removed, this permit will terminate either at midnight of the termination date shown above, or when the quantity listed above is reached, whichever comes first.

12. None of the terms or conditions of this permit may be varied or modified, except for unilateral modifications by the Forest Service and/or BLM.

13. Permittee agrees to hold the Government harmless from any claim for damage or loss of property, personal injury, or death.

14. Collection of forest products is permitted only in the are(s) described by this permit.

15. Permittee shall complete the Product Quantity Removal Record in ink prior to transporting products. When load tickets are issued, the permittee is required to compete load tickets when the Permittee moves between collection sites or leaves a permit area. Load tickets must be securely attached to the load and clearly visible from the rear of the vehicle.

Other Conditions

1. Skidding or driving through plantations, meadows, or live streambeds. 36 CFR 261.10(l)

2. Failing to have in your immediate possession, a size "0" or larger shovel, a fire extinguisher of at least 8 ounce capacity, and an approved spark arrester on your power saw during the period of this permit. 36 CFR 261.10(l)

3. Use of motorized skidding equipment without prior written approval of a Forest officer. 36 CFR 261.6(h)

4. Cutting standing trees with green foliage, designated wildlife trees, live larch, cutting in an area where logging is occurring or log decks present, or trees with paint on them, unless specifically authorized in your permit. 36 CFR 261.6(a)

5. Cutting and leaving stumps higher than 12 inches or removing firewood material over 8 feet in length. 36 CFR 261.6(a) or (h)

6. Cutting firewood within 300 feet of Idaho State Highways 21, 55, and/or 95. 36 CFR 261.6(a)

7. Transporting firewood without first validating and securely attaching the load tickets in a visible position on the left rear of the load for each 1/4 cord of wood products or any portion thereof, and/or failing to properly validate each load ticket used by cutting and removing the proper month and date (tickets are not reusable). 36 CFR 261.6 (e)

8. Purchasing more than 10 cords of NONCOMMERCIAL fuelwood by an individual or household per calendar year is prohibited. 36 CFR 261.10(l)

9. Cutting fuelwood within 300 feet of FH 22 Warm Lake Highway is prohibited without prior written approval of a Forest Officer. 36 CFR 261.6(a)

10. It is prohibited to cut fuelwood within 200 feet of developed recreation sites, administrative sites, campgrounds and areas designated and signed as "closed" or "cutting prohibited", or in areas designated as closed on the fuelwood map (unless specifically authorized on your permit). 36 CFR 261.6(a)

11. Cutting firewood within a 300 foot buffer area on each side of any perennial stream, or within a 100 foot buffer area on each side of any intermittent stream or dry stream channel. [When a road is within the 300 foot zone (perennial stream) or 100 foot zone (intermittent stream), cutting and removal of dead trees and down logs on the uphill side of the road is permitted] 36 CFR 261.6(a)

12. Off-road vehicle travel for the purposes of fuelwood harvest must comply with Travel Map restrictions unless specifically shown open on the fuelwood map.

13. Permit and appropriate Forest fuelwood cutting map must in the the Permittee's possession while harvesting and transporting products.

14. Seven (7) inches or less on the large end can be hauled at any length on the Payette National Forest.

15. Cutting of any whitebark pine (live or dead) is prohibited on the Boise National Forest.

You must be 18 years old to buy a fuelwood permit. When you buy a fuelwood permit you are responsible for fully understanding and agree to all conditions of the permit. Violations of the conditions of the permit are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months or both (16 USC 551).