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BLM offers free firewood in avalanche debris areas

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SILVERTON, Colo. — In an effort to help clear out some of the downed trees swept up by avalanches in southwest Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management is offering free firewood permits to anyone interested.

The San Juan National Forest experienced historic snowfall and avalanche activity this past winter season. According to the Avalanche Information Center, more than 1,000 avalanches slid into the San Juan National Forest area alone.

"The effects of those avalanches are still being felt by those [Hinsdale and San Juan] counties,” explained Brant Porter with the Bureau of Land Management.

It took until mid-July for some backcountry roads in San Juan County to be cleared of debris. With countless downed trees scattered about, the BLM is hoping the free permits it's offering will inspire folks to come out and help collect them.

"We really see this is a win-win,” Porter said.

The free permits only apply to downed trees. The cost for traditional firewood permits hovers around $10 a cord with a two-cord minimum. With the free permits, folks are allowed to collect as many downed trees as they’d like.

According to the BLM: People are allowed to collect wood along Alpine Loop roads (which wrap around Silverton, Ouray and Lake City). A BLM spokesperson added, “The public may collect downed firewood along Hinsdale County roads 20, 30, 35, 24 and 22. The public may also collect downed firewood within 30 feet of San Juan County roads 2, 4, 23, 24 and 110."

To receive a free permit in Hinsdale County, you should visit the BLM’s Gunnison Field Office or call 970-642-4940. In San Juan County, stop by the BLM’s Silverton Office or call 970-387-9871.

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