June 13, 2008
Lesley A. Collins
Free Firewood Permits Available from BLM Buffalo Field Office
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office is offering free firewood permits again this year on public lands in the Billy Creek cabins area. BLM initiated the free firewood program several years ago as an incentive for individuals to remove hazardous fuels from the area.
According to BLM Fuels Specialist Steve Hannan, Public Lands in the Billy Creek area have experienced a severe infestation of insects and disease that have caused a die off of limber and ponderosa pine trees. The dead and diseased trees together with a continuing trend of summer home development in the Billy Creek area has resulted in large areas of hazardous fuels that are intermingled with high value properties. Although BLM and some of the private home owners have implemented various fuel reduction projects in the area, we continue to lose ground as more and more trees become infected and die.
Access to the area is via the Billy Creek Road, an improved gravel road that turns east off Hazelton County Road (Co. Rd.3) about a mile from where the Hazelton Road intersects U.S. Highway 16. BLM will post signs on the firewood cutting unit and issue a map and directions with the wood permits. Permitees are authorized to drive on existing two-track trails and should be able to get their vehicle or trailer right up to the standing dead trees. Any dead or down trees in the permit area may cut and removed. Later this summer, as trees are cleared along the trails, the BLM fire crew plans to cut and drag trees to the trails to facilitate removal by fire wood permit holders. Most of the trees have been dead for several years and should be well cured and ready for use as fire wood.
BLM’s Buffalo Field Office Manager, Chris Hanson stated, "I am pleased with the results of the free use permit program and decided to continue it this year as an incentive for wood cutters to drive a few extra miles to this area. The public benefits from free wood, and BLM and Billy Creek cabin owners benefit by having some of the hazardous fuels removed from a wildland-urban interface area."
The free-use fire wood permits may be obtained at the BLM office located at 1425 Fort St. in Buffalo, Wyo. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. BLM employees will also be issuing the permits at the Interagency Fire Mitigation Workshop to be held at the County District 1 Fire Hall this Saturday, June 21, 2008.
Each permit will be good for up to five cords of firewood and will expire on December 31, 2008. "There is no limit on the number of permits an individual may obtain, but we require permits so that we can measure the volume of wood removed and provide maps and directions to the cutting areas," Hanson stated.
- BLM -