Thieves have been helping themselves to Douglas fir trees on federal land near Pinehurst, Idaho.
Officials with the Bureau of Land Management said the illegal harvest occurred during the week of Nov. 11 near the West Fork of Pine Creek and the Jackass Creek Bridge, and they believe the trees probably ended up as commercial firewood.
“This is one of the worst and most blatant green tree firewood thefts our forestry staff has seen,” Kurt Pavlat, the BLM’s Coeur d’Alene field manager, said in a news release. “The merchantable value of these trees is well over $5,000.”
Cutting down live trees without authorization is considered timber theft and subject to triple stumpage rates, he said.
The BLM is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the person or group of individuals responsible for the illegal harvest. Tips can be given to Coeur d’Alene District Law Enforcement Officer Shane Nalen at (208) 769-5005.
Timber thieves have hit the area for several years, taking more than $20,000 worth of timber, officials said. Some of the trees were cut near streams or dragged across creeks with fish, causing natural resource damage. Others were cut and left leaning, creating a safety hazard.
Firewood cutting permits are available at BLM and Forest Service offices in North Idaho for $5 per cord, with a minimum two-cord purchase. All individuals seeking firewood on public lands must follow established rules.
Cutting live trees is not allowed, a permit is required and people can’t sell the firewood unless they buy a commercial permit. Felling or skidding trees across streams or lakes is prohibited.
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