Residents in western Colorado who cut their own firewood will be happy to know the National Forest Service has opened a new area to the public this fall.

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests' Norwood Ranger District has an area on the Uncompahgre National Forest's Plateau Division where felled and decked ponderosa pine is available for personal harvesting.

Cutting firewood in the newly opened area requires a 2018 Forest Service Fuelwood Permit. The permits allow individuals to take from four to 10 cords and cost $20 to $50 depending on the amount of firewood harvested. The firewood is for personal use only and cannot be resold.

The cutting area is in the Horsefly Project area on National Forest System Road NFSR 537 (Horsefly Trail Road) off of NFSR 530 (Sanborn Park Road). The area is approximately 20 miles northeast of Norwood and 30 miles southwest of Montrose.

The Horsefly Project Area is part of the Sanborn Park Treatment Project to reduce the potential for severe wildfires, increase vegetation, and improve wildlife habitat. The project is a combined effort of the Forest Service and the Mule Deer Foundation.

The area is accessible by a temporary road and only people with a valid Forest Service Fuelwood Permit are allowed to enter the area. Permits for harvesting firewood in the Horsefly Project area can be purchased at the Norwood Ranger District Office in Norwood or the Ouray Ranger District Office in Montrose.