How you can improve Forest Health while Celebrating the Holidays

December 13th, 2017

A person cuts down a white fir tree which is growing next to a larger tree.
An example of a white fir acting like a ladder fuel. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.


Christmas tree hunting to me is a family affair, complete with hiking, laughter, sticky tree sap and of course, a fresh Christmas tree! However Christmas tree hunting isn’t only about finding the best tree for your home, but it’s also about reducing wildfire fuels and promoting forest health.

According to Anna Belle Monti, fuels forester with the U.S. Forest Service Humboldt - Toiyabe National Forest, Carson Ranger District, “Christmas tree cutting also serves an ecological purpose. These are the trees that act as ladder fuels to the larger trees. The public is actually assisting us in removing hazardous fuels from the forest as well.”

For those who don’t know, a ladder fuel is vegetation that can carry a fire from the smaller plants to the taller plants such as trees. If fire does move to the tops, or crowns of the larger trees, it could result in a high intensity, or catastrophic wildfire.

To help understand why removing white fir trees is good for forest health, Ed Smith, Cooperative Extension’s natural resource specialist and director of the Living With Fire Program explained, “The mixed conifer forest of the Sierra Nevadas experienced frequent, low-intensity fires prior to Euro-American settlement. With settlement of the area, fires were effectively excluded. This created conditions favorable to white fir establishment in the understory.”

Without these frequent forest thinning fires, there has been an increase in understory vegetation, such as grasses, shrubs and small tree growth. Many of these areas are now overstocked with young trees, particularly white fir, which makes the forest more vulnerable to drought, insect pests and disease. By reducing the number of trees growing so closely to each other, forest health can be improved. This is why obtaining a permit and cutting a Christmas tree can be good for the forest!

Interestingly enough, Christmas tree cutting is not restricted to the forest, but is also permitted on designated pinyon pine-juniper woodlands as well. Rules differ by agency, so be sure to adhere to the appropriate guidelines.

The following is a list of locations to purchase Christmas tree permits in Nevada:

USFS - Austin Office
100 Midas Canyon Rd
Austin, NV
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Battle Mountain:
BLM- Battle Mountain District Office
50 Bastian Rd
Battle Mountain, NV 89820
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Carson City:         
BLM-Carson City District Office
5665 Morgan Mill Rd.
Carson City, NV 89701
Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Cal Ranch (BLM permits)
2035 N. Carson St
Carson City, NV 89706
Mon.-Sat., 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sun., 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

USFS - Carson Ranger District Office
1536 S. Carson St.
Carson City, NV
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

BLM- Elko District
3900 Idaho St.
Elko, NV 89801
Mon. – Fri. 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

USFS - Mountain City Office
660 S 12th St. Suite 108
Elko, NV
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

BLM- Ely District
702 North Industrial Way
Ely, NV 89301
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

USFS - Ely Ranger District Office
825 Avenue E
Ely, NV
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

UNR Cooperative Extension Office (BLM permits)
111 Sheckler Road
Fallon, NV
Mon.-Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Middlegate Station (Located 48 miles east of Fallon):
42500 U.S. Highway 50 (BLM permit)
7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., daily

Cold Springs (Located 62 miles east of Fallon):
Cold Springs Station (BLM permit)
52500 U.S. Highway 50
8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., daily

Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce (BLM permits)
1477 US Highway 395 North Suite A
Gardnerville, NV 89410
Mon.-Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(inside museum building)

Community Action Center (BLM permits)                     
924 5th St.
Hawthorne, NV 89415
Mon.-Fri., 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Pershing County Farm Service Agency (BLM permits)
110 American Blvd
Lovelock, NV
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Montello Post Office (BLM permits)
143 Front St.,
Montello, NV 89830
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Our Grocery (USFS permits)
State Highway 225
Owyhee, NV
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sat. – Sun.  8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

BLM-Nevada State Office-Reno
1340 Financial Blvd.
Reno, NV 89520-0006
Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Galena Creek Visitor Center (BLM permits)
Mt Rose Highway, Reno, NV
Six miles up Mt Rose Highway from Highway 395/580
Fri.-Sun., 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Smith Valley:
Buckboard General Store (USFS permits)
160 Hwy 208
Smith Valley, NV
Mon. – Sat. 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

USFS - Forest Supervisor’s Office
1200 Franklin Way
Sparks, NV
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

BLM- Tonopah Field Office
1553 South Main St.
Tonopah, NV 89049
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

USFS - Tonopah Office
1400 S. Erie Main St.
Tonopah, NV
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

BLM- Winnemucca District
5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89801
Mon. – Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Wells Forest Service Office (BLM & USFS permits)
140 Pacific Ave.
Wells, NV 89835
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

headshot of Jamie Roice-Gomes
Jamie Roice-Gomes is the outreach coordinator with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living with Fire Program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a Master of Arts in Interactive Environmental Journalism. She was a public relations assistant for Conrad Communications, a public information officer intern at the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and a Biological Science Technician at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service. She also enjoys volleyball, the Great Basin Desert, and spending time with family. Contact Jamie at 775-336-0261 or

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