A unique partnership is addressing a home heating crisis on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, by supplying hundreds of cords of firewood from forest restoration projects. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.
When the Navajo Generating Station shut down last year, Navajos and Hopis no longer had access to coal to heat their homes. The U.S. Forest Service is working with the tribes and nonprofit groups to offer firewood as an alternative source of fuel.
Sasha Stortz of the nonprofit National Forest Foundation says the project benefits watershed and forest health as well as people. "The small-diameter timber from forest restoration treatments can sometimes be a challenge to remove and to find markets for," Stortz says. "So there’s a really clear opportunity here with a supply and the need for fuelwood."
Nearly 300 cords of firewood have been delivered so far from the Coconino National Forest with more on the way from the Coconino and Kaibab. The program also gives jobs to Native workers with Ancestral Lands crews. It’s funded by donations through the Northern Arizona Forest Fund. More information here: https://www.nationalforests.org/who-we-are/regional-offices/southernrockies/azforestfund