Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Free firewood

unedited June Tahoe Mt. News

By Kathryn Reed

Heating your home with wood? Tired of skyrocketing prices for a cord? Want something for free?
Did you answer “yes”?
Then the California Tahoe Conservancy is the number to have – (530) 542-5580, ext. 3. The recording is updated weekly to let people know where workers have been clearing out lots and leaving behind 16-inch rounds.
The only catch is that the CTC allocates just one permit per household a year for two free cords of wood. Permits are available at the CTC office at 1061 Third St. in South Lake Tahoe.
The CTC gives away about 400 cords of wood each year. That number could increase in the near future because at the board’s May meeting more funds were allocated for fuels reduction.
“We aren’t going to tolerate people abusing it. It’s a criminal activity,” said Ray Lacey, CTC deputy director, said of the firewood program. “We want people to use the program, but be respectful.”
The problem is with people taking more than their share. Some have even had the audacity to sell the free stuff. That’s a misdemeanor.
“In the winter when the snow is flying the operation slows down a bit, but the firewood program is all year-round,” said Milan Yeates, with the CTC forestry program.
Most of the wood is Jeffrey pine, white fir and lodge pole. The wood is usually within 50 feet of a road, so no need to drive off road. CTC lots being worked on range from 5,000 square feet to hundreds of acres, so the amount of wood at any given location varies. Permits are good for 30 days, but the CTC doesn’t guarantee someone will have beaten you to the rounds.
The CTC asks people to leave fence poles behind. Yes, people have taken them in the past. No mechanized tools are allowed on the CTC lots. Hand tools are OK.

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