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Woodcutting permits available for Brittle wildfire site west of Oscoda

Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

In April last year, the Brittle fire in the Huron-Manistee National Forest blew out of control. Now, thousands of acres of dead oak can be harvested for firewood.

By opening the area to the public, Forest ranger Ben Wiese said they’re hoping to prevent a beetle infestation by removing dead trees. An infestation would harm the Forest Service’s efforts to plant pine, he said.

“So this area, the Brittle fire, this is just an area we wanted to try to focus people into to cut wood," Wiese said. "It’s pretty easy to get, there’s a lot of good road access and it would do us a favor by getting some wood out of there.”

The public is helping the Forest Service restore parts of the forest for birds, like warblers, by cutting down trees, he said.

They expect hundreds of people to come out and gather wood, he said. The wildfire area will likely be open until the spring.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.