Wood Cutting in Carson District Suspended

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The U.S. Forest Service suspended wood cutting and gathering in Nevada's Carson Ranger District on Friday because of extreme fire danger.

Fire danger is the worst its been in a decade, and officials fear a small spark or heat from a chain saw could set the forest ablaze.

"We haven't seen conditions this dry in a long time," said Forest Service spokesman Franklin Pemberton. "It would take only one malfunctioning chain saw to start a major fire."

District Ranger Gary Schiff said the suspension will remain in effect until the region gets sufficient moisture to reduce the threat.

Last month's Waterfall fire in Carson City made it evident just how dry it is. The fire, blamed on an illegal campfire, destroyed 17 homes and burned 8,700 acres.

Each year, the district issues hundreds of permits to people who want to cut and gather their own firewood. About 2,000 cords of wood from dead trees in the forest are taken annually, the agency said.

Violating the suspension equates to violating terms of the permit, and carries possible penalties of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, the Forest Service said.