Fuelwood season begins Monday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fuelwood season begins Monday

Patrick McCartney

Gentlemen, and ladies, it’s time to start your chain saws.

The U.S. Forest Service will begin its annual fuelwood season Monday, opening two areas in the Tahoe Basin for the harvesting of firewood.

Permits, available from the Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, cost $20 per cord, and are issued for a minimum of two cords. Families are limited to 10 cords per year.

On Monday, the Forest Service will open the Baldwin Beach and Secret Harbor areas for harvesting. Baldwin Beach is scheduled to be open for just one week, and Secret Harbor for three weeks.

The two locations are the first of about eight areas that will be made available to the public this year, according to Angela Parker, a Forest Service forester.

“People need to keep informed of the areas we will open and close this year,” Parker said. “Some of the areas, like Baldwin Beach, will be open for only a week or two, so the public needs to get their wood as early in the season as they can.”

Last year, the Forest Service sold 434 permits for a total of 708 cords of wood.

Parker said the Forest Service selects areas with a large number of dead trees that are so old or damaged that they hold little value to commercial logging companies.

“Usually, the trees are dead for at least a year, so they are already seasoned,” she said.

At both locations Monday, woodcutters will be required to show their permit before they are allowed to enter, and again when they leave. The hours for cutting are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at Baldwin Beach, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily at Secret Harbor.

The majority of wood at Baldwin Beach is lodgepole pine. Trees marked with blue or white paint may be harvested, as well as downed trees and scattered wood.

The Baldwin Beach fuelwood area is on the east side of State Route 89, four miles north of the “Y.” The area will be open for one week only, closing on May 19.

Mostly pine and fir is available at Secret Harbor, but only downed trees may be removed. Standing trees must not be cut at Secret Harbor. The fuelwood area is located west of State Route 28, about five miles north of Spooner Lake.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and show a picture identification when buying a permit. The Forest Service does not issue refunds for any reason.

And, finally, those who harvest firewood should check with fire officials to determine if any fire restrictions are in place before leaving to cut wood.

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