Firewood Permits and Cutting Season
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.
Cutting season occurs from mid-April to mid-December.
Types of Permits & Associated Fees
The cost of a permit varies according to the type of wood to be harvested, and the definition of a "cord" of wood is: 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 per cord for oak, aspen, juniper and maple; or $2.50 a cord for pine and mixed conifer. The minimum purchase allowed is $20, and twelve cords per household per year is the maximum quantity allowed under paid permits.
- 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. There aren't always free-use firewood areas designated, so you will need to check with a Ranger Station to see if one currently exists.
- Little Springs Free Use Firewood Area (Flagstaff Ranger District)
- Commercial Permits are for collecting firewood to sell in a commercial capacity for profit. Personal Use Paid Permits are not allowed to be used to collect firewood to sell to someone else. Contact the Ranger Station of which district you're inquiring about for information about any commercial areas that may exist.
- Green Wood Permits are occasionally offered. Information can be obtained on these occasional sales by calling the respective Ranger Station.
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.
- Firewood may not be sold, exchanged or used in business. In other words, you cannot buy a personal use paid permit to collect firewood and then sell the wood to someone else. That falls under a Commercial Permit, which is only allowed in specific areas and in rare occasions. Check with a ranger station to see if any commercial areas are available.
- You may designate two other individuals to cut wood in your absence. Individuals must be identified and their names added to the permit at time of purchase.
- Wood is only to be cut or gathered in areas specified on the permit.
- Stump height not to exceed 12 inches.
- Power saws must have a 0.023 stainless steel spark arrestor screen.
- 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.
- Cut on National Forest land only.
- Chainsaw 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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Off-road motorized travel has limitations
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 Coconino National Forest now has GPS-enabled maps for smartphones, tablets and Garmin GPS devices, which may be used as a supplement to the firewood guide issued with each permit.