Firewood Permits and Cutting Season

2017 Firewood Cutting Season: April 15 to December 10

The 2017 Firewood Cutting Season starts Saturday, April 15, 2017. Permit sales begin Friday, April 14, 2017. Watch for announcements on our home page, Twitter, and Facebook. The following information is for the previous season and will be updated closer to the permit season. Please review the printed official 2017 Firewood Guide you receive with your permit, which contains comprehensive regulations and instructions.

The 2017 Fuelwood Map is now available to download and print, or load into the Avenza Maps app on your smartphone. The 2017 MVUM will be available by April 14.

Load of firewoodOne of the most popular recreation activities on the Coconino National Forest isn't usually thought of as a recreation. Every year people come to the Forest from as far away as the Phoenix metropolitan area to harvest their year's supply of firewood. The Coconino provides firewood for personal use both on a free-use permit and a paid permit basis. In either case, a permit must be acquired by anyone harvesting any firewood on the National Forest, except for the rather small amounts used in a campfire and gathered at the campfire site.

Permits are available at any of the following locations. Please note: only the Red Rock Ranger Station office is open on weekends. Links open the location in Google Maps.

You will receive a printed copy of the official 2017 Firewood Guide with your permit with the comprehensive list of rules, regulations, and tag instructions.

The Travel Management Rule is in effect on the Coconino. Unless specified elsewhere on the permit or identified as prohibited, motorized off road travel is authorized to access and load firewood. The permit does not authorize motorized cross country travel to scout for wood. The permit authorizes off-road vehicular use by the most direct route in and out of the area to accomplish firewood retrieval. Off-road travel is not permitted to "scout" for wood. Use the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) in conjunction with your firewood guide. Roads not identified as "open" roads on the MVUM are not considered "roads" in the provision. Using these "roads" would be considered the same as "cross country travel" and should only be used to access and load firewood that has been previously located and cut without using your vehicle.



The cost of a permit varies according to the type of wood to be harvested. Free Use Permits allow the cutting of up to 5 cords of down and dead wood in specified areas for no charge. A maximum of 5 cords per household per year is allowed under free use. A cord of wood is defined as a well-stacked pile 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 4 feet high. Personal Use Paid Permits allow the cutting of down and dead wood or standing dead wood that meets certain criteria (see below) in specified areas at a cost of $5.00 per cord. The minimum purchase allowed is $20.00, and twelve cords per household per year is the maximum quantity allowed under paid permits. Green Wood Permits are occasionally offered. Information can be obtained on these occasional sales by calling the individual districts.


2017 Free Use Area

There is currently one free use firewood collection area on the Coconino National Forest. Area 8-1 is comprised of debris from tornado damage that occured in 2010, and is located in the Turkey Butte area off FR 538 approximately eight miles from the junction of FR 538 and FR 231 (Woody Mountain Road). A free (or paid) firewood permit is required to collect wood in this area. See Free Use Firewood Area 8-1 map [635 kB PDF] for details.


Load Tag System

The Coconino National Forest personal use firewood program is using the load ticket (tag) system. Tag System Instructions are available in English and Spanish.


Permit Conditions:

  1. Free use firewood may not be sold, exchanged or used in business.
  2. An individual may purchase the permit for you -- as long as they request that your name be added to the permit.
  3. Wood is only to be cut or gathered in areas specified on the permit.
  4. Stump height not to exceed 12 inches.
  5. Power saws must have a 0.023 stainless steel spark arrestor screen.
  6. The amount of wood gathered must be recorded on the permit in ink and the appropriate number of load tickets must be attached to the load before leaving the cutting area.
  7. Cut on National Forest land only.
  8. Chain saw restrictions may apply during fire season.


Not all dead wood is fair game

Trimming dead limbs from live trees is not permitted on the forest, and standing dead trees may only be cut if they meet standards listed below. Before cutting any dead tree check it carefully for signs of wildlife habitation. If it contains woodpecker holes or other large cavities, it most likely is providing a valuable home for birds and other small mammals. These trees are generally rotten and wouldn't make good firewood anyway, so please don't destroy an "Animal Inn."


Rules for cutting standing dead trees:

  1. Dead standing pine or fir that is less than 12 inches in diameter or less than 15 feet tall. (Diameter is measured at 4 and one half feet above the ground and 12 inches in diameter is equal to 37 inches in circumference.)
  2. Dead standing pinon and juniper is available regardless of size unless obvious wildlife cavities are present or the tree is signed as a wildlife tree.
  3. Dead standing aspen that is less than 12 inches in diameter or less than 15 feet tall may be cut from June 1 to September 30.
  4. No cutting any standing oak, dead or alive

You may take dead and down wood, limbs, old logs, and chunks of wood lying on the ground; however, you may not take any wood that is marked with paint or left in logging decks (stacks of logs, usually at the road side ready to be loaded on a log truck). You may remove wood from piles left behind as waste by road construction or logging operations (these piles are usually of a dome type shape and include logging slash, limbs, tops of trees and unusable larger pieces), but be sure to stack all that you don't use back on the pile.


2017 Fuelwoods Map

2017 Fuelwood Map [Geo PDF, 1.2 MB]

This map can be used on your location-enabled smartphone with the free Avenza Maps app. Once you download the map to your phone, use the "Download or import a map" tool to import the map.

Before you head for the forest to cut firewood, check the following list:

  1. Do you have your permit and load tickets and a means of fastening tickets to the load?
  2. Have you checked road conditions and closures?
  3. Have you checked the fire danger level and restrictions?
  4. Have you studied your map so you know where you're permitted to cut wood?
  5. Did you tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back?


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