The annual firewood cutting season on the Bitterroot National Forest begins April 1. During the COVID-19 alert, no permit will be required. However, the cutting rules are still in place. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest reminded woodcutters that personal woodcutters can take up to 12 cords of wood from areas of the forest. A cord is a tightly piled stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long. You can remove downed timber or cut standing dead trees on National Forests and Grasslands in Montana, Northern Idaho (Nez Perce-Clearwater Natl Forest) and portions of the Dakotas. You can see the guidelines and links to Bitterroot forest maps (top right corner) at their website. The firewood cutting season is April 1 to June 1.

RESTRICTIONS: Do not cut live trees for firewood; do not cut "standing dead" trees that have signs, tags or paint marks on them; do not cut in any developed recreation area, campgrounds or along wild and scenic river corridors. Stay out of timber sale units or other areas that are closed to firewood gathering (look at a map). Do not cut trees within 150 feet of any running stream, pond, marsh or lake. You also cannot use an over-the-terrain vehicle for skidding, yarding or skidding systems over 100 feet. Vehicles cannot be driven off roadways to gather firewood. Maximum length piece is 6 feet. Chainsaw operators must have a fire extinguisher and shovel. The chainsaw must have an approved spark arrester. If you need a commercial firewood permit, contact the Bitterroot National Forest - Stevensville Ranger at 777-5461, Darby and Sula at 821-3913, West Fork at 821-3269 and Supervisor's Office at 363-7100.