If there’s any good news to come out of recent wildfires across Washington, here it is: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is offering pre-cut personal-use firewood this Saturday, Sept. 7, from wood cleared for firelines on the Conrad Lake Fire. The fire is in the Naches Ranger District, west of Yakima.
Roughly 70 to 100 cords of mixed forest wood, consisting mostly of lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, western larch, and grand fir, will be available to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Minnie Meadows Campground.
Persons holding a valid 2013 Personal Use Firewood Permit are invited to remove up to two cords of wood. District Ranger Irene Davidson has waived the requirement for splitting rounds greater than 8 inches in diameter for this opportunity only.
Six to eight vehicles at a time will be permitted into the closed area to collect wood and will be directed out upon filling their allowed load. Access to the collection area is still closed to the general public due to fire vehicle traffic. Danger to wood collectors from the fire is not expected, however, the fire will continue to be monitored.
Wood has been cleared from firelines, cut into 12-inch to 30-inch rounds, and stockpiled at the Minnie Meadows Campground, on Forest Road 1000 along the South Fork of the Tieton River, approximately 8 miles south of Rimrock Lake. The area is normally closed to firewood cutting to protect wildlife habitat but the amount of wood generated by fireline construction presents a fire hazard in itself.
“This is an excellent opportunity for firewood permit-holders,” District Ranger Irene Davidson said. “This wood is already pre-cut and just needs to be loaded and hauled away.”
Forest Service officials estimate that 75 percent of the wood available comes from dead snags and is cured for personal burning this coming heating season. None of the wood being made available has been removed from designated Wilderness Areas.
Those needing a Personal Use Firewood Permit for this event may purchase one at the Naches Ranger Station, in Naches, Yakima County, up to noon on Friday. The Naches Ranger District front office is not open Saturday. Get more information on permits here.
Persons not holding a firewood permit will not be permitted to pass the road closure on Forest Road 1000. Forest Service personnel will be in the area on Saturday to answer questions and oversee wood collection, but they will be unable to sell firewood permits.