July 6, 2009 - As the impact of late spring rains has worn off, firewood cutting restrictions are kicking in on the Plumas National Forest.
"In January we tied our firewood cutting program to the same daily fire danger indices system that all forest workers are using on national forests in California," said Alice Carlton, Forest Supervisor.
A number (800-847-7766) was established for woodcutters to call to determine if woodcutting will be allowed all day, allowed the first part of the day (hoot-owl), or not allowed at all that day. Information is updated every afternoon with instructions for the following day. Carlton noted that additional lines are being added to handle the call volume.
"Because we won't be shut down completely for a solid block of time, in general, woodcutters will have more opportunities through the summer to get their wood in," Carlton said, although she added cutting days might not be as predictable in late spring and early fall if the weather was hot and dry.
Prior to 2009, based on fire danger and fire occurrence, (historically the first part of July) woodcutting was either allowed part of the day or shut down completely. This closure would stay in place until fire danger levels abated, usually the end of September.
Fire danger indices take into account weather data collected from seven permanent weather stations located across the Forest. Data including relative humidity, wind speed, fuel moisture and wind speed/direction is recorded every hour (24/7) and is transmitted to a national database. The National Weather Service uses data from these sites to develop twice daily fire weather forecasts among other forecasting.
For other questions about woodcutting or to obtain a permit, contact the local Forest Service office or visit the website, http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/plumas.
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