Firewood permits (or personal forest product permits) for the Payette and Boise National Forests will go on sale beginning May 15. Permits for the Minidoka and Fairfield Ranger Districts on the Sawtooth National Forest will be issued beginning May 21.

Permits are $12.50 per cord with a 2-cord minimum and a 10-cord maximum per household. Permits will be available at USDA - Forest Service Ranger District offices, the Interagency Visitor Center at 1387 S. Vinnell Way in Boise, and several private vendors in Southwest Idaho.

Some firewood cutting areas may not be immediately accessible due to snowdrifts. Firewood cutting in the northern Sawtooth NF, specifically the Ketchum Ranger District and Sawtooth NRA, will be delayed until the end of May or beginning of June. Call the Sawtooth NRA at 727-5000 to check snowmelt and road conditions in these areas.

Once the snow melts, the public is encouraged to cut firewood early in the year because fire restrictions may impact the cutting season later in the summer. However, early season wood cutters should be very careful with wet road conditions and avoid them if rutting or getting stuck is a potential.

All motorized travel related to fuelwood gathering must be in full accordance with Forest Service travel regulations for the area unless specifically exempted in the firewood permit. Firewood cutting is not allowed within riparian areas (adjacent to creeks and rivers). Regulations for each forest are available when permits are issued.

The Payette and Sawtooth National Forests have a few free firewood areas. However, a permit is still required. One free use area is located on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) north of Galena Summit off of Decker Flat road. Three free use areas are located on the Payette National Forest in the Hazard Lake, Kenney Point and Secesh Meadows/Warren areas. Specific location information and permit use requirements will be provided with the permit.

Each Forest firewood permit is valid for use on any Forest. However, fuelwood gatherers are required to have a current fuelwood brochure and motor vehicle use map for the area they are cutting in. For additional information, contact the local ranger district offices, or the forest Web sites.

Vendors for the Boise National Forest include:

B&W Fuels, Emmett

Emmett Saw and Motor Rentals, Emmett

Boise NF Ranger District Offices include:

Emmett, 365-7000