To keep their homes warm throughout the year, many Montanans use wood-burning stoves. Others like to have a nice supply of firewood for their evening campfires. Every year, the area's national forests allow firewood cutting for personal use.

The Bitterroot National Forest has opened five areas for "personal use" firewood cutting this summer. In fact, some of the sites will be open until the middle of October - fire danger permitting, of course. You will need a firewood permit, though. The free permits allow you to cut up to 12 cords of wood. The permit is good all year and can be obtained at any Forest Service office. Have your permit available when you are on your woodcutting trip.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest reminded woodcutters of basic rules when you head out. Don't drop a tree onto a roadway. Remember to pile up all slash as you leave the area. If you're using a chainsaw, make sure it has a spark arrester and always carry a shovel, bucket and fire extinguisher. Even with recent rainstorms, the forest is dry and forest fires can start easily. If it's determined that you started a blaze, you can be responsible for the cost of fighting that fire.

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Be aware of other forest users and use the wide shoulders and turnouts for parking. If you're using a trailer, make sure the road has a proper turn-around area. Do not cut trees in a developed recreation area, campground or within 150 feet of streams, creeks or waterways. To make sure you're in a woodcutting area, get a firewood map at any Bitterroot Forest Service office or download a map at their website.

The 2022 Firewood Cutting Areas

  • Stevensville Ranger District - Forest Roads 740 and 739A (Silverthorne Loop)
  • Darby/Sula Ranger District - Road 728 (Andrews Creek); Road 5759 (Meadow Creek)
  • West Fork Ranger District - Road 5628 (Thunder Mtn); Road 13417 (Devil Creek)
  • A note - The Thunder Mountain and Devil Creek areas on the West Fork will close August 26.

    If you have questions, call the Supervisor's Office in Hamilton at 406 363-7100, or the Stevensville Ranger Station - 406 777-5461, Darby/Sula Ranger Station - 406 821-3913 and West Fork Ranger Station - 406 821-3269.

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