By Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov, 608-516-2223
Most people know that using locally-sourced firewood helps prevent the spread of invasive pests and diseases. What may be less well known are the processes for finding local sources of firewood or learning where and how you can collect it yourself. During Firewood Awareness Month, we want to share what options are out there so you can take steps to protect the places you love.
Use Firewood Scout to find local firewood vendors
Whether you’re looking for a vendor to supply your cabin or just a bundle for tonight’s campfire, you can use the Firewood Scout website to find a nearby source. On the homepage, enter your location where you plan to use the firewood. You can also enter a maximum distance from your location, which is a great way to find your firewood as locally as possible. The website offers a 10-mile radius as the default distance.
After entering your information, Firewood Scout will provide a list and map with all sources of firewood included in their records for that area. Note that not all vendors listed offer certified firewood. If you would like to purchase treated firewood, which can be transported anywhere within the state without worry, look for that designation underneath the vendor’s information.
Listing a business on Firewood Scout is free. If you have a firewood business in Wisconsin or know someone who does, fill out the form on the Add Your Business page to get it listed.
Firewood for sale at state properties
You can purchase firewood in or near almost every Wisconsin state park or forest property. For time and location of firewood sales at a state campground, select a property from this Find a Park page. Once on the property’s webpage, look for the section titled “Camping Information” on the righthand side of the page. If you’re on a mobile device, click on “Show more” at the top of the page.
Some state properties have affiliated Friends Groups that sell certified or local firewood. Proceeds from these sales fund projects to benefit the property. Learn more about Friends Groups on this DNR webpage.
Collecting firewood on state properties
Along with offering firewood for purchase, state properties often allow for free firewood collection while camping. All wood used must be dead and downed, not collected from live or standing dead trees, and chainsaws are not allowed at parks or near campgrounds on state forests. Campgrounds are often picked clean of eligible firewood, so check with staff at park and state forest offices for suggestions of where to collect.
It may surprise you to learn that many state properties allow people to collect firewood for their personal use as well. To collect firewood for use off the state property, such as for home or cabin heating, you will need a firewood permit and be able to cut and haul the wood yourself. Permits typically specify what type of wood may be collected (ex: dead and downed wood only) and where you may collect it. Property managers may try to achieve secondary management goals by designating an area for firewood collection.
Currently, individual state properties are responsible for deciding whether to offer firewood permits, under which conditions and for what price. Use the DNR Find a Park webpage to navigate to an individual property’s webpage and find more information about firewood policies. There you can also find contact information for property managers who can answer additional questions about firewood collection. More information about various property types is below:
- State forests are the most likely property type to offer firewood permits. This is one way that property managers can help reduce slash on the ground after a timber harvest.
- Flowages may be another property type that allow firewood collection following timber sales.
- The WI Riverway sells firewood permits most years.
- State wildlife areas occasionally offer firewood collection to clear trees or wood from grasslands or for other specific projects. Contact DNRWildlifeWebmail@Wisconsin.gov and specify which property or counties where you would like to collect wood. The person staffing that mailbox will be able to give you the name and contact information for the property manager who can provide a permit if they are available.
- State natural areas rarely allow firewood collection. Email DNRFWPNHCStateNaturalAreas@wisconsin.gov and specify the property where you would like to collect wood.
- State parks may also sell firewood permits. Contact the park manager for more information.
Collecting firewood on county or national forest land
The national forest and many county forests also allow firewood collecting with a permit. Contact the national forest office near you or a county forester for information on getting a permit.
Moving firewood long distances can introduce forest pests to the places you love, but you have the power to slow the spread. Buy firewood where you will burn it, find a certified source or gather it on-site where permitted.