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Personal Firewood Permits Excluded From Tree-Cutting Ban in Tonto NF

People who rely on firewood from Tonto National Forest and five other national forests in New Mexico now can cut and gather it.

A federal judge on Tuesday excluded personal firewood cutting and gathering from a larger ban on timber management activities in the forests.

Environmentalists who sued the federal government over the threatened Mexican spotted owl had asked U.S. District Judge Raner Collins to amend the ban. It's been in place since mid-September.

The U.S. Forest Service supported the narrower ban. The agency says permit sales will resume immediately.

Wood is the primary heating source for many residents in rural areas who cannot afford propane and don't have access to natural gas lines.

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