Rep. Joseph Sanchez
Rep. Joseph Sanchez (Alcalde) is supporting U.S. Forest Service efforts to resume firewood permit sales in New Mexico. A ruling in a case filed by WildEarth Guardians has resulted in all timber sales, including personal firewood permits, to be halted on all U.S. Forest Service lands in New Mexico.
The order states that “USFS timber management actions in Region 3 (New Mexico and Arizona) national forests must cease pending formal consultation.” This means New Mexicans who need firewood can no longer get it from U.S. Forest Service lands and may need to go to Colorado or other jurisdictions to get it.
There are currently five U.S. Forests in New Mexico affected by this ruling (approximately 7.8 million acres). Firewood harvesting is low impact to habitat since it is a short duration activity with harvesting only taking place near roads because it is difficult to carry firewood long distances.
Representative Sanchez is leading the effort of a group of concerned state legislators that want to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
“It is outrageous that New Mexicans may need to go to Colorado to get firewood. The U.S. Forest Service should not be required to halt personal firewood permit sales based on this ruling,” he said. “This is an essential time for many in rural New Mexico to gather firewood for heating and cooking. This moratorium on permits could not have come at a worse time. It will be devastating to those who depend on this vital resource for basic survival during the winter.”
Sanchez said New Mexicans must have access to this renewable resource without
delay so they can gather firewood in time for winter.
“My hope is that this justification during the USFS formal consultation will result in the resumption of firewood permits.”