Firewood Cutting

Your Firewood Permit

To cut firewood for personal use on National Forest and BLM lands inWashington, you must have a Personal Use Firewood Permit.  At $5.00 per cord, you can purchase a permit for no less than four cords ($20) for each purchase and no more than twelve cords ($60) (per household).  A permit is good for gathering firewood from the time of purchase through March 31.  Permits are available at all Colville National Forest offices and your local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices.

Graphic for forest sign: Entering Firewood Cutting Area Keep your permit on the dashboard of your vehicle where it is visible through the windshield.  Fill out the bottom portion of the permit at the cutting site before you haul each load.  Travel together when hauling wood in more than one vehicle for the same permit.  To cut firewood for someone else (third party), authorization must be approved when purchasing the permit.  A lost or stolen permit cannot be replaced or the fee refunded.

*Please review your permit for cutting conditions prior to harvesting firewood.

Tips on selecting the right firewood for fuel efficiency and conservation

Where can I cut?

Check your firewood map to find the areas specifically designated for firewood cutting. In addition, these areas are closed to firewood cutting:

  • Private Property: Privately owned lands within the National Forests are often marked by signs and fences. Refer to your Forest map to be sure you are not cutting on private land.

  • Active Timber Sale: Timber sales are usually marked with a sign or painted trees. Please don't cut anything in these areas.

  • Riparian Areas: Check your map and permit for width of riparian areas.

What can I cut? 

Only dead or down trees can be cut for firewood.  Before you cut a tree, be sure it is dead.  Check to see there are no green needles left.  You can cut any dead standing or down tree within 200 feet of an open system road for firewood.

Larch: Be careful when cutting western larch (tamarack) trees.  These trees lose their needles each fall, but are still alive.  Look on the ground to see if needles have recently fallen.  Check to see if the bark is tight.  If it is, the tree is probably alive.

Wildlife trees: Standing and down dead trees (snags) provide a source of food, nests, perches, and protective cover for many birds and mammals in the forest. Please don't cut trees with paint marks or signs, broken tops, trunk holes or visible nests.

Help protect our resources!

Please help us protect water quality and fish habitat. Avoid cutting, piling, or gathering firewood near any stream, pond, lake, marshy or wet area. Check your wood cutting permit for guidance on specific distances.

The best firewood

Some trees burn hotter than others. The list below shows common types of trees in our area and their heat values in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A higher value indicates more heat.


Western Larch (Tamarack) 22.3
Douglas Fir (Red Fir) 20.6
Lodgepole Pine 17.5
Ponderosa Pine (Yellow Pine) 17.1
Grand Fir (White Fir) 16.7
Spruce 15.0
Subalpine Fir 13.6


Firewood is commonly measured in cords. A standard cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack 4 feet wide and 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Hauling firewood in lengths greater than 7.5 feet must be approved first in writing at a Forest Service office.

Chainsaw and Fire Safety

As a chainsaw operator, you must have a serviceable fire extinguisher (8 oz. liquid chemical or 1 lb. dry chemical) and shovel available when cutting between April 1 and October 31.

  1. Your saw must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor.
  2. You must carry a shovel and a bucket when traveling through or on National Forest lands during fire season. Contact your nearest Forest Service office for information concerning local fire danger and chainsaw use restrictions.
  3. Be aware of the dangers when cutting near or along roads.
  4. You can avoid starting a fire with your chainsaw by following these common sense rules:
  • Keep the saw well away from cigarettes or open flame when adjusting or fueling the saw.
  • Let your saw cool for at least 5 minutes before refueling.
  • Carry your gas in a metal safety can equipped with a spout. Use a funnel to avoid spilling gasoline on the ground.
  • Before starting your saw, move it from the place where it was fueled and away from gasoline vapors. Also, remove oil and sawdust from all metal parts.

Before You Go...

Please leave your wood cutting area clean. Scatter debris away from roads, culverts and ditches. Pack your garbage out with you.