Firewood cutting permits for the Sawtooth National Forest will be available starting Friday, May 25.
This year, the cutting will begin on both the north and south portions of the forest at the same time, the Sawtooth National Forest's Karl Fuelling said.
"Conditions are such this year that people can start cutting firewood throughout the entire forest," Fuelling said.
However, the Sawtooth National Forest is asking for the public's cooperation in avoiding sensitive areas that remain wet until road surfaces are dry and can handle loaded vehicles without creating ruts, he advised.
"There are still some areas at the higher elevations where the roads are still wet and soft," Fuelling said.
The Forest Service has increased the cost for a basic firewood cutting permit this year from $20 to $25. This will permit the holder to cut two cords of firewood for personal, family use. Additional cords may be purchased for $12.50 per cord, in two-cord increments, up to a maximum of 10 cords, the Forest Service reports.
A cord of wood is equal to a firewood stack measuring 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long, or a total of 128 cubic feet.
Once again, the Forest Service is waiving the fee for two cords of firewood on portions of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) north of Galena Summit, Fuelling said. Those wishing to take advantage of this free firewood offer will still need to obtain a permit, cut only in areas open to firewood gathering and properly tag their load, he said.
In order to protect forest resources, the Forest Service is asking people to observe a few basic rules, Fuelling said.
These include piling limbs and other woody debris that could increase fire hazards if left strewn about, he said. Additionally, firewood cutting shouldn't take place within 150 feet of streams or lakes, he said.
Lastly, there are a number of areas closed to cutting that are delineated on the map that accompanies the firewood-cutting permit.
Locally, firewood-cutting permits for the Sawtooth National Forest are available at the following locations:
· Fairfield Ranger Station, 102 First Street East: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
· Ketchum Ranger Station, 206 Sun Valley Road: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· SNRA Headquarters, 5 North Fork Canyon Road: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· SNRA Stanley Ranger Station: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Redfish Lake Visitor Center: (after June 15) Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.