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I own about 30 acres of sloping, high desert land at about 8500' near Pine, CO. It is moderately densely forested with 30-60 yr old ponderosa pine, blue spruce, and juniper. When a tree dies and falls within about 100 yd of my home (on the property), I de-branch it and pile up the dead branches and stack 2ft cross sections of the trunk. I have about 10 such aggregations--each about 1/2 - 3 tons of flammable wood--that I would like to dispose of. Are there companies that will do this? And how do I locate and contact them? Removing a large amount of dead and dry wood is a forest-fire prevention measure.

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  • Is there a market for firewood locally and would the wood burn in normal home fireplaces?
    – Willeke
    Apr 20, 2023 at 16:45
  • I've just been googling for people who supply firewood in Jefferson County, Co. Perhaps you can follow that route. Or is that like selling coal to Newcastle? Another possibility is manufacturers of wood products such as chipboard etc. Possibly related problem: Logging in Jefferson County for fire mitigation stokes anger among residents Apr 20, 2023 at 16:47
  • Are you looking to get paid for it or pay someone to handle it for you? Apr 20, 2023 at 17:11
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    @Willeke Pine is not a good wood for wood burners/home fires. "Resinous woods produce thick oils when burned that blacken glass and leave hard to remove deposits on the inside of your stove and chimney. We do not recommend the following types of firewood to be burnt on any of our woodburning stoves: Pine." mendipstoves.co.uk/…
    – Darren
    Apr 21, 2023 at 17:20
  • I’m definitely going to pay for it. As pointed out, the wood would be very damaging to a fireplace/chimney—and, although it would be great for a bonfire, the risk of triggering a forest fire makes that very inadvisable!!
    – Ken
    Apr 21, 2023 at 17:27

3 Answers 3

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There is a social media site, Next Door (ND), which has local sites all over the US. For example, the ND site in my area covers the Washington DC area including the near suburbs.

I can find someone eager do anything by posting on my NextDoor site, from scooping a litter box on a regular basis (although I have not descended so low -- yet) to major repairs on anything.

BTW, I would not dismiss someone paying you to remove the wood. Several years ago, we were contacted by a man who wanted to thin the woods on forested property we owned in Colorado, and who paid us. He did a fine job. (The woods were so dense that they were a fire hazard.) BTW, the trees were all pines and other softwoods.

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When I was growing up, I helped trim branches from a row of pine trees near our house. Similar to what you’ve ended up with, albeit smaller in scale and without the full-on logs.

My parents ended up calling an arborist company they’d used before, who basically just showed up with the wood chipper & other tools they’d normally use to deal with the mess after doing the cutting part of most jobs.

If you can’t give it away or sell it, I’d look into calling a local arborist company and see if you can get get them to come out and remove all of it; that’s already within the normal scope of their jobs, though it sounds like you do have a lot.

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For all the miscellaneous branches and trimmings, you have created slash piles. By far the most common way to deal with slash piles in rural areas is a controlled burn with the following important notes. You want to create a controlled burn, not a raging forest fire (for which you would be legally liable). To this end, locating slash piles in clearings and burning them at the appropriate time of year with the appropriate weather conditions is vitally important. Regulations generally require this to occur during the winter and/or when there is adequate snow cover on the ground. Additionally, this is often a permitted process (with a small nominal fee)---check with your local fire department, county (search "burn permit + county"), and local US forest service office.

This pamphlet from Colorado State University gives an overview of the process for Colorado landowners. Additionally, this youTube video from the Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative gives the basics of what the process looks like (granted, slightly to the north of you). Finally, the Colorado Certified Burn Program (from the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Prevention & Control) provides training specifically for landowners---and provides a measure of liability protection when trained and operating within appropriate parameters.

If you are dead set against using fire, many counties offer slash collection/drop-off services and onsite chipping services, with cost ranging from very cheap to free.

As for the bucked rounds from the main trunks, don't discard their value as firewood! While pine is inferior firewood to hardwoods, it is very commonly used in evergreen forested areas. I guarantee that someone in your community would love to have it to heat their home.

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  • +1, with a BIG CAVEAT! If you haven't gained experience burning a slash pile by, e.g., helping someone who really knows what she is doing, don't do it. My husband and I burned a slash pile on Hawaii land, and monitored it every minute, hose in hand connected to a good water source. Even so, and even though the conditions were damp, keeping the fire within the perimeter of the pile took work. Totally agree that pine and other softwoods work as firewood. They are what we use here in VA in our wood-burning stove; no problems.
    – ab2
    May 10, 2023 at 22:09
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    @ab2 Absolutely---there are certainly right ways and wrong ways to go about burning a slash pile, hence my emphasis on the Colorado Certified Burner Program (especially for someone that sounds new to rural/forested living). In the rural Rocky Mountain west, I grew up building and tarping slash piles as we harvested firewood in the Spring/Summer/Fall and then burning them off in the dead of winter on a calm day with a couple feet of snow on the ground, igniting them with a propane weed burner or kerosene drip torch. Make a party out of it with lots of shovels and McCleods at the ready.
    – erfink
    May 13, 2023 at 0:05

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