Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (2024)

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Where To Find Free Firewood Near You

Home Improvement

Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (4)

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ByKate Hagan Gallup/

Firewood offers us an opportunity for relaxing as a family around a fireplace, gathering outside the backyard firepit for smores, and also filling a woodstove to provide winter warmth. And while there are few who don't love a roaring fire, it often comes down to one thing to make it happen — expensive firewood. Fortunately there are many ways you can get your own free firewood to help mitigate this expense, and often you'll be doing a service to your area by grabbing it. Believe it or not, some people consider firewood trash, so why not help with cleanup?

When it comes to getting free firewood, a little wood knowledge goes a long way, according to Free Firewood for Life. Hardwoods can be harder to find but will burn hotter and longer for home heating. Look for woods likeoak, ash, and maple as well as fruit woods which are also popular for smoking. Softer woods burn well but can need to be seasoned (think dried) to avoid tarring building in a chimney (called creosote). Softer woods include your evergreen needled trees as well as balsam and poplar. Some people also burn lumber such as pine 2x4s. Another great free option, be sure to avoid manufactured boards and those containing glues or additives.

No matter what type of firewood you are looking for, there are multiple ways to get this fuel for free.

Free firewood from social media giving pages

Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (5)

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Social media may be a controversial communication channel when it comes to health and politics, but there's one area that generally has widespread support: giving pages. Online platforms are continually connecting people and goods, often for free. Depending on the area you live in, one platform may be more available than others, but two of the most common ways to get free goods like firewood are to connect through BuyNothing or Craigslist.

Craigslist has a lengthy history of consumer to consumer trading and sales. Live About explains that all you need to do is select your location, go to the free section, and scroll until you find the product for which you are looking (example: firewood). As an older platform Craigslist has also had some scams including ones offering firewood, according to Hearth.com, so make sure to do your due diligence in selecting a location.

BuyNothing is a specific program that typically operates in Facebook groups. BuyNothing was created as a gifting community with the rules that you may only join one hyperlocal community at time, and the group is based entirely on free, gifted product with no sales. Similar to BuyNothing, you may also find free firewood at local Giving Tree communities or Freecycle.

Free firewood from community service

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Often times supporting your community can help support you, too. To that end, find a neighbor or neighborhood business that needs a hand and help to cut and harvest firewood on their land. Introduce yourself and offer assistance, or answer a call for local help. You can also donate time through a timebank program.

A timebank allows neighbors to offer services that they can provide, and ask for earned assistance with projects they need help with — such as finding, or cutting, free firewood. A timebank is a group of community members who agree to give and receive the gift of time through donations of services and skills. An example timebank exchange may be providing a neighbor with snow plowing assistance in winter and receiving help cutting and splitting firewood in return.

Additionally, some people enjoy trading goods through local barter systems. In this case, in lieu of a service a fellow neighbor may offer a pint of homemade blackberry jam for a cord of split and seasoned firewood or something similar.

Free firewood from arborists

Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (7)

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Another source of free firewood is to obtain this wood by supporting a local arborist with tree cleanup. It's important to note, though, that gathering arborist wood should only be done with direct permission — never interfere with a job site and don't trespass. Arboriste forum explains that many arborists are willing to donate wood that cannot be chipped. As a side note, many arborists also have lists where they will donate the chipped material from a full truck as well.

If there are no ads from your local arborists sharing free firewood, it doesn't hurt to politely ask. Shares poster Joshlaugh, "First I usually wander over, talk chainsaws for a bit, compliment them on the nice job of dropping the tree. I than explain that I heat my house with wood and IF they don't need/want the wood that I would love for them to dump it anywhere they want in my driveway and I will take it from there." As for the success of this technique, Josh shares, "This method has worked the last few times crews were cutting in my area."

Free firewood from the forest service

Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (8)

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In order to best prevent catastrophic forest fires, many forests must be managed. Management includes things like minimizing fire danger near structures and removing dead and diseased trees. The result of this process is that often the forest service will have areas of wood marked for removal — and they'll let you take it free for your personal use.

As an example, Washington state allows residents to apply for a freePersonal Firewood Permit through the Forest Service. Firewood harvesting must be done within 50 feet of a Forest Service road and only includesthe access to cut and remove dead and downed trees, and harvesters may not use professional equipment like a skidder. Do not block access to roads or trails and scatter limbs and leaves that you won't use for kindling within 18 inches of the ground.

Washington state also has some specific "Do not harvest" rules: Never harvest a rare or endangered plant. Do not cut standing trees whether alive or dead or trees marked with a flag or orange paint. Never cut any kind of cedar and avoid any area marked with"No Firewood Cutting" or "Timber Sales Area." Lengths are also meant for personal use, not professional, so free firewood is limited to 6 feet in length.

Free firewood from buildings

Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (9)

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If you're really stuck, you can sometimes burn lumber scraps as a firewood option in a wood stove or fireplace. We'd like to first offer a strong caution on this one and recommend it only for experts or as a last resort for winter warmth. While clean lumber can be burned much like a log, the majority of odds and ends from a building site will not fit this criteria. Firewood for Life encourages you to pay attention to burnt lumber to avoid heavy creosote or toxic fumes. While a pallet may be okay, don't burn an MDF board, particle board, or plywood (these all have glue). Avoid burning wood that is painted or varnished or other compressed and "woodlike" products.

And definitely, definitely avoid burning treated lumber, like the kind used for outdoor decks and swing sets. This lumber is typically treated with aChromated Copper Arsenate which contains chromium, copper, and/or arsenic — all compounds you shouldn't consume or aerosolize according to the EPA.

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Where To Find Free Firewood Near You - House Digest (2024)

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