Northern Arizona Firewood | Forest Permits for Firewood Collection

Forest Permits for Firewood Collection

Forest Products Permits

Use of forest products from the Coconino Forest include the annual harvesting of Christmas trees, rock and cinders for landscaping and construction, personal-use fire wood gathering and wilding permits which allow the taking of live plants and trees from the forest for personal use.

Firewood Cutting Season: Mid-April thru Mid-December

Load of firewoodOne of the most popular recreation activities on the Coconino National Forest isn’t usually thought of as a recreation. Every year people come to the Forest from as far away as the Phoenix metropolitan area to harvest their year’s supply of firewood. The Coconino provides firewood for personal use both on a free-use permit and a paid permit basis. In either case, a permit must be acquired by anyone harvesting any firewood on the National Forest, except for the rather small amounts used in a campfire and gathered at the campfire site. Permits will be available at any of our offices except the Flagstaff District Office during the open season. Please note: only one office is open on weekends.

The Travel Management Rule is in effect on the Coconino. Unless specified elsewhere on the permit or identified as prohibited, motorized off road travel is authorized to access and load firewood. The permit does not authorize motorized cross country travel to scout for wood. The permit authorizes off-road vehicular use by the most direct route in and out of the area to accomplish firewood retrieval. Off-road travel is not permitted to “scout” for wood.  Please use a MVUM in conjunction with your firewood guide. Roads not identified as “open” roads on the MVUM are not considered “roads” in the provision. Using these “roads” would be considered the same as “cross country travel” and should only be used to access and load firewood that has been previously located and cut without using your vehicle.


The cost of a permit varies according to the type of wood to be harvested. Free Use Permits allow the cutting of up to 5 cords of down and dead wood in specified areas for no charge. A maximum of 5 cords per household per year is allowed under free use. A cord of wood is defined as a well-stacked pile 8 feet long by 4 feet wide by 4 feet high. Personal use Paid Permits allow the cutting of down and dead wood or standing dead wood that meets certain criteria (see below) in specified areas at a cost of $5.00 per cord. The minimum purchase allowed is $20.00, and ten cords per household per year is the maximum quantity allowed under paid permits. Green Wood Permits are occasionally offered. Information can be obtained on these occasional sales by calling the individual districts.

Load Tag System

The Coconino National Forest personal use firewood program is using the load ticket (tag) system. Tag System Instructions are available in English and Spanish.

Permit Conditions:

  1. Free use firewood may not be sold, exchanged or used in business.
  2. Permits are not transferable and must be obtained IN PERSON from an office on the Coconino Forest.
  3. Wood is only to be cut or gathered in areas specified on the permit.
  4. Stump height not to exceed 12 inches.
  5. Power saws must have a .023 stainless steel spark arrestor screen.
  6. The amount of wood gathered must be recorded on the permit in ink and the appropriate number of load tickets must be attached to the load before leaving the cutting area.
  7. Cut on National Forest land only.
  8. Chain saw restrictions may apply during fire season.

Not all dead wood is fair game

Trimming dead limbs from live trees is not permitted on the forest, and standing dead trees may only be cut if they meet standards listed below. Before cutting any dead tree check it carefully for signs of wildlife habitation. If it contains woodpecker holes or other large cavities, it most likely is providing a valuable home for birds and other small mammals. These trees are generally rotten and wouldn’t make good firewood anyway, so please don’t destroy an “Animal Inn”.

Rules for cutting standing dead trees:

  1. Dead standing pine or fir that is less than 12 inches in diameter or less than 15 feet tall. (Diameter is measured at 4 and one half feet above the ground and 12 inches in diameter is equal to 37 inches in circumference.)
  2. Dead standing pinon and juniper is available regardless of size unless obvious wildlife cavities are present or the tree is signed as a wildlife tree.
  3. Dead standing aspen that is less than 12 inches in diameter or less than 15 feet tall may be cut from June 1 to September 30.

You may take dead & down wood, limbs, old logs, and chunks of wood lying on the ground; however, you may not take any wood that is marked with paint or left in logging decks (stacks of logs, usually at the road side ready to be loaded on a log truck). You may remove wood from piles left behind as waste by road construction or logging operations (these piles are usually of a dome type shape and include logging slash, limbs, tops of trees and unusable larger pieces), but be sure to stack all that you don’t use back on the pile.

2013 Fuelwood Map (click image below)

Map of 2013 Fuelwood sites

Before you head for the forest to cut firewood, check the following list:

  1. Do you have your permit and load tickets and a means of fastening tickets to the load?
  2. Have you checked road conditions and closures?
  3. Have you checked the fire danger level and restrictions?
  4. Have you studied your map so you know where you’re permitted to cut wood?
  5. Did you tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back?

For more information on firewood cutting on the Coconino National Forest and a list of free use areas and sale times and locations contact the Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office or any Ranger Station.



Christmas Tree Tags

Christmas Tree ClipartTags for Christmas Trees are usually available beginning in November and end just before Christmas.  Permits are sold over-the-counter at the Mogollon Rim Ranger District Office and also at Big 5 Sporting Goods stores throughout Arizona. Check back in November for updates on how to get Christmas Tree tags! More information about cutting areas on other forests in the state can be found here.



Rock & Cinder Collecting Permit

Pickup with a load of rocksMalapai rock permits are available for $25.00 for up to five tons and are good for 90 days . Permits can be obtained at the Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office. We have several areas that you can get malapai from. The closest area to Flagstaff is A1-Mountain. We have areas off of I-17 and also off of Hwy 180. Malapai rock is really nice for landscaping.

Red cinders (volcanic ash) permits are available for $21.00 for up to 35 yards. After purchasing the permit, the permit is good for 90 days. The cinder loading area is near Sheep Springs on the Flagstaff Ranger District. Purchase the permits at the Supervisor’s Office located at1824 S. Thompson Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 or call the office at (928) 527-3600.

Available from the Red Rock District: Landscape Red Rock at $15 for 3 tons. Landscape river rock or sand is $15 for 7.5 tons.

For more information on these permits, call the Red Rock District Office at 928-203-7500.


Wilding Permits

Pine SeedlingWilding permits, which authorize collecting live plants and trees from National Forest lands for personal use are available Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office and Mogollon Rim Ranger District. The Forest typically has two wilding seasons – one in the spring and another in the fall, for about a month each while plants are dormant.

Permits will be available only for coniferous trees (Douglas Fir, White Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Pinyon Pine, and Juniper). Due to the severe decline of Aspen populations across the forest and lack of natural regeneration, Aspen seedlings will not be offered in the permits.

Trees up to 12 feet tall may be dug up; however for the best chance of successful transplanting, foresters recommend that seedlings selected be much smaller in size: less than 4 feet. The fee is $1.00 per foot, with a minimum fee of $20.00 per permit. Maps of designated gathering locations, along with transplanting recommendations, are provided.

For information on our next available permit season, call the Supervisor’s Office at(928) 527-3600 or the Mogollon Rim Ranger District at (928) 477-2255.