Cutting Firewood in the Sierra Forest

Each year, from April 1 to November 30, the Sierra National Forest makes available personal fuel wood gathering permits for the public. Individuals may purchase a permit which allows them to cut and gather up to ten cords of "dead and down" wood for personal use.

Before you collect any firewood you are required to obtain a firewood cutting permit. Permits are available at Forest Service offices and at some seasonal offices during the summer. The permit authorizes the signer of the permit to gather a specified amount of dead and downed wood, for his or her personal use, from any portion of the Sierra National Forest open to woodcutting.

The fee for a woodcutting permit is $10.00 per cord. Each woodcutter is required to purchase a minimum of two cords. The maximum amount of cords a person can purchase is 10.

When the permit is issued it is accompanied by a map that shows the approximate boundaries of fire danger rating areas, and special areas such as wilderness, major recreation areas, and special management zones, that are permanently closed to woodcutting. Other small areas, such as active timber sales, may be closed temporarily due to contractual agreements and responsibilities of the logging contractor. In such cases signs will be posted around the closed area.

When you receive your permit you may be provided with special maps and instructions relating to cutting within that area.

Due to changing conditions such as road closures, weather, timber sale activity, and changing supplies of wood it will generally be necessary for you to secure current maps and instructions by visiting the office administering the area where you plan to cut. Remember that not all land within the boundary of the National Forest is public-owned. It is your responsibility to be certain you are not trespassing on private land.


If you look hard enough you can find good firewood almost anywhere in the Sierra National Forest. In lower elevations that are accessible most of the year and immediately adjacent to major roads, the supply is more limited, simply because a lot of people have been there already. If you want to burn only oak or lodgepole pine, it will be harder to find. The more particular you are about the type of firewood and the distance you will travel to get it, the harder it will be to find.

For information on woodcutting locations, contact the Forest Service offices in North Fork or Prather, as they have the most updated information.

The Forest Service cannot authorize you to cut or gather wood on private land. The Sierra National Forest visitor's information maps shows the approximate locations of private landholdings and roads that are open to the public, as well as other details in navigation while in the forest. Maps can be purchased at Forest Service offices and visitor stations.