HELENA- Starting April 1, the public is allowed to cut firewood for personal use in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. 

No permit will be required for personal firewood cutting from April 1 to June 1. 

Up to 12 cords of firewood for personal use may be taken by woodcutters. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a cord as the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long. 

Woodcutters can remove downed timber or cut standing dead trees under most conditions on National Forest and Grasslands within Montana, North Idaho and portions of North and South Dakota according to the USDA.

The USDA also advised people to check with the local ranger district to see if there are any specific local restrictions or requirements.

Forrest officials request woodcutters follow these requirements: 

  • Do not fell green (live) trees for firewood. Do not cut cedar or Pacific yew.

  • Do not cut standing dead trees or down logs with signs, tags or paint marks on them. 

  • Firewood gathering is prohibited in all developed recreation areas, campgrounds and wild and scenic river corridors.

  • Firewood gathering is prohibited within timber sale units or other areas signed or shown on the firewood gathering area map (if provided) as being closed to firewood gathering.

  • Trees or logs must NOT be felled or skidded across live streams, lakes, or reservoirs. If a tree is accidentally felled into a waterway, leave the entire tree.  Firewood gathering is prohibited within 150 feet of any running stream, pond, lake, marshy, or wet area

  • The following activities are prohibited:  using over-the-terrain vehicles for skidding, yarding or skidding systems in excess of 100 feet, log trucks for hauling, or vehicles driven off roadways to gather firewood.

  • Six feet is the maximum length piece that may be removed under the firewood program.

  • The following are fire regulations for vehicles and chainsaws (during proclaimed fire season):

    • Chainsaw operators must have a serviceable fire extinguisher (liquid chemical 8 oz. or dry chemical 1 lb.) and shovel available at all times.

    • Chainsaws must be equipped with an approved spark arrester screen.

    • All vehicles must be equipped with a baffled muffler and serviceable tailpipe.

  • Firewood obtained is intended for personal use only. Inquire by phone or email with your local District offices regarding commercial firewood permits.

  • Pile or lop and scatter slash away from roads, power lines, telephone lines, ditches and stream courses.

Anyone out cutting wood is advised to use caution while driving on Forest Service roads as may are still snow covered and icy at higher elevations.

You can find more information and guidelines on the firewood cutting handout available on the USDA website here, you can also call your local district office for more information and updates. 

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