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Alturas Field Office

Sources of Wood Supply

Now that you have decided to heat with wood, you will need to consider how you will get an adequate supply for the winter. Many people enjoy gathering their own wood but timing is critical. Available wood cutting areas may have road and chain saw restrictions or actual closures may occur during the season. Usually you can cut unrestricted only in late spring or late fall.

You must know how much you will need for the entire winter. If you underestimate your needs you may run out during a critical cold spell when no other source is available. Remember, you need to get some wood in spring so that it will be seasoned by next fall.

No matter where you get your wood you must have a valid permit or prove that you are the legal owner of the wood. If you are cutting off your own property and transporting the wood into town, you will need proof that you own the property, such as an assessor's plat map with your name and mailing address on it.

Examples of Sources of Wood

Public: Any USDA Forest Service office and most Bureau of Land Management offices (BLM) - see your telephone directory under "US Government." See page 15 for some local numbers.

Private: Some of the local timber companies and ranch timber owners sell wood permits. Some local sawmills sell mill ends or have damaged logs for sale. You must get permission of the landowner to cut firewood. Proof of that permission is necessary to transport firewood on state and county roads.

Remember to use a map, such as an ownership or "topo" map, to insure you are cutting wood on the correct ownership.

Purchasing Firewood

Firewood may be purchased through local private dealers. Your local newspaper usually carries several classified ads. It is best to buy your wood in spring to insure it is well seasoned by fall. Purchase your late winter or next year's wood in fall. Don't wait until the last minute. Wood purchased after December becomes very expensive. The average home takes about 5 cords of wood to heat each year. It is good advice to start out with 7 cords so that you always have dry, seasoned wood on hand.

Pellet wood fuel is now becoming locally available for the new and nearly smoke-free pellet stoves. Pellets are sold in 40 lb. bags lined with plastic to keep the pellets dry. These bags are available through feed stores and some hardware stores.

Next: Types of Wood Stoves