The Firewood Program in the State Forests
Firewood harvesting from State land can provide several benefits. As a public service, firewood provides people an opportunity to reduce home heating costs. Wood is a renewable resource. Carefully planned harvests can provide residents with wood for many years. When wood is substituted for fossil fuel there is a net savings in carbon release to the atmosphere. A firewood harvest can also provide aesthetic improvements in the State Forest by reducing post harvest woody debris on the forest floor.
Foresters conduct firewood harvests in a sustainable manner for a long term wood supply. It will take 30 – 50 years for an area to re-grow the firewood that is harvested depending on the species and available sunlight. Not all forests will be harvested every year. The amount of wood sold yearly is limited.
Forestry reserves the right to suspend firewood sales in order to comply with federal or state quarantines to limit the spread of non-native insects.
Live trees and wood on the ground is sold in 2-cord lots. The cost is $30.00 per cord. Firewood lots are generally offered during the warm months when forest roads are accessible. Connecticut residents may apply for one Forest Products Harvesting Permit per household per year.
Firewood lots are assigned by lottery. Process for applying for a Forest Products Harvesting Permit:
- An applicant completes a Firewood Program Application and chooses a harvest area between A and N on the associated map. The application must be received at the Division of Forestry on or before February 2. Applicants must complete both sides of the application. Applications are available beginning mid-October.
- Upon receipt, applications are assigned a number that corresponds to their chosen harvest area. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. The Firewood Lottery will be determined in early March using a random number generating process. Successful applicant's names will be posted on the DEEP Forestry Website by March 18. Not every applicant will receive a firewood lot.
- Those applicants chosen to receive a Forest Products Harvesting Permit will have a preprinted permit sent to the forester in the area selected by the applicant. The successful applicants will be notified when the firewood lot is ready to cut. Instructions for Permit validation and cutting area location will be included in the notification.
- DEEP Forestry must authorize the Permit and collect payment before cutting begins. Sufficient time will be allowed to harvest the firewood (normally 30 days). Firewood is harvested during the warm weather months. Permits are generally issued when roads become stable in the spring through October. Self Issued Certificate for Transport of Firewood: Word Form; PDF
- Applicants who do not receive a permit by lottery selection will be placed on an alternate list. Alternates may be offered permits at the discretion of DEEP Forestry based on supply.
Lots are 2WD or 4WD accessible. Foresters cover several towns and forests. To ensure the program is efficient foresters are not able to entertain special requests for custom lots. However, the forester may be able to arrange for a convenient harvest period to avoid conflicts with vacations or work related travel.
Short extensions can be granted for emergencies or severe weather that may occur during the permit period at the discretion of DEEP Forestry.
Cutting firewood is strenuous work. A chainsaw is a dangerous tool. Do not cut alone. Have a first aid kit handy. The chainsaw should be properly maintained with a chain brake, a device that minimizes kickback, and functioning controls. Personal Protection Equipment is essential for safety. Wearing a hardhat, chainsaw chaps, leather gloves and leather boots, will reduce the chance of injury. DEEP Forestry requires that woodcutters wear personal protective equipment (PPE includes protection for the head, eyes, legs, feet and hands) and use a properly maintained chainsaw. Cutters without PPE may have their Forest Product Agreement revoked and not be offered a woodlot the following year.
Foresters prepare firewood harvest areas mindful of safety. However, once a permit is issued, cutters should inspect the harvest area before starting the chainsaw. Be alert for broken limbs and branches, deadwood and other dangers. Work cautiously. Report any conditions that appear unsafe promptly to the Forester. Notify the Forester of any tree that you think may be beyond your ability to fall and/or remove safely.
Chainsaw manufacturers provide maintenance and use instructions. Proper felling methods and safety tips are also available at:
Content last updated October 8, 2014