16 Legal Ways to Find Free Firewood Near You Without Paying

Do you want to find Free Firewood Near you? It’s easy. Nothing conjures up cozy feelings quite like the crackle of a well-built fire. While stocking up on logs to feed your flame can get pricey, firewood doesn’t always have to cost you.

free firewood near me

I’ve rounded up several ways you can get firewood for very little (or no) money—all you need are good manners, a watchful eye, and the necessary tools.

Places to Find Free Firewood

Whether you live on a 100-acre homestead or a post-stamp of a city lot, it is completely possible to heat your home with a wood stove and not have to fork out a single dollar for the fuel.

If you’re willing to put in the legwork, that is. Here are our homestead tips for where to find free firewood safely, legally, and thoughtfully.

1. Craigslist

I’m pretty sure there’s no better resource for free firewood than your local Craigslist. While you’ll often see split firewood sold, you’ll also see folks who just want the dead tree out of their yard, who would be relieved if someone took it.

Check out the “Free” tab. Oftentimes, a listing for wood can be found there.

For the price of your time and travel, you could easily gather as much wood as you want. Make a habit of checking your local listings daily, or at least weekly.

Another method is to place a “Wanted” ad offering to remove a dead or fallen tree. Someone may take you upon it.

We’ve never had a negative experience with our Craigslist pickups, but take a friend you trust along with you in case you feel uneasy about meeting strangers.

2. Your Own Woodlot

If you have the acreage for it, you can source all of your firewood needs from your own forested property. Managing a woodlot isn’t simply cutting down trees indiscriminately.

It’s a multifaceted effort that, when done well, results in a healthy forest, a pleasant place for humans and wildlife alike, a constant source of fuel and building timber, and even an opportunity to make side-income for the homestead.

Though it may sound counter-intuitive, cutting down trees can make a better forest.

It’s a balance of removing diseased and dangerous trees, pruning up-and-coming saplings to take their place, leaving the odd snag or two for owls and woodpeckers to nest, opening up the forest floor so fewer plants have to fight for sunlight and nutrients, and truly enjoying the peace of your own private forest.

If you’re interested in learning the art of woodland stewardship, I heartily recommend The Woodland Stewardby James R. Fazio.

It’s a great resource for both understanding and caring for the forest on your property, and goes into far more detail than I can neatly summarize in this brief article.

3. National Forests (Almost Free)

You may not know it, but many of the wild forests of the United States are still available as a source of firewood to heat your home. 

For a very small fee per cord — sometimes as little as $5, though the rates vary per state — you can be licensed to harvest firewood from a specific tract of National Forest.

Please note that although they are both public lands, National Forests are NOT the same as national parks. National parks are run by the National Park Service (not the Department of the Interior) and cutting down trees there is considered poaching.

Additionally, just because firewood can be legally harvested from a National Forest doesn’t mean you can help yourself without going through the registration and permit process. There’s a minimum $300 fine if you do.

4. Wood Pallets

Wood pallets make very serviceable firewood. Most of them are made out of untreated hardwoods (you want to make sure you never burn treated wood), and merely need to be pried apart and cut to fit the firebox. And finding free wood pallets is like a treasure hunt, too!

I would recommend saving yourself the hassle of trying to remove every screw and staple from the wood before using them as fuel.

Be careful to avoid them when you’re cutting the boards to size, and then burn them without worry. When it’s time to clean the firebox, simply sift the ashes through a screen before you send them to the compost or garden.

5. ChipDrop

ChipDrop is another little-known way you can score some free wood for the woodpile. Basically, you can sign up to be put on a list for arborists to deposit wood chips or logs at your home with free delivery.

Even though you can’t schedule the drop-off or specify how much, it’s a pretty sweet deal for the low price of signing up online.

6. Places Where Land is Being Cleared

Construction zones are often destructive, but you can glean some benefit. If you observe a forest being leveled, find a construction company worker or foreman and ask if you can help yourself to some of the fallen timber.

In our area, we often see mountains of branches from trees being cleared for construction.

cleared wood area

You can also benefit from a property being logged. If you live in an area where this is common, you may be able to gather firewood from the discarded crowns and branches of the harvested trees.

Loggers are usually after the trunks. But as ever, you’ll need to ask permission from the landowner.

Our homestead had been logged by the previous owners before we bought it, and though it was left an absolute mess, it was a mess of branches that we have repurposed or burned ever since.

7. Brush Cleanup in the City

In early spring or fall, city services often schedule a pick-up day for dead branches, leaves, and other natural lawn waste. Find out what dates are scheduled for your area or closest town, and then take a drive to see if anyone has piled a stack of useful branches at the side of the road.

8. Freecycle

Freecycle is an awesome website where people can give stuff away and get things for free in their neighborhood. It’s a great premise that encourages recycling!

There are listings for all sorts of things on the website. So have a look on there and you may come across someone giving away firewood!

9. Sawmills

Sawmills want to produce usable lumber from logs. However, they often have scraps left over. They generally don’t use 100% of the tree.

Research local sawmills and get their contact details. Get in touch and ask if they have any unused logs that they’d be willing to give to you.

Often, sawmills pay a company to haul away their extras, so they may be happy to reduce their costs a little by giving the firewood to you.

Even if the sawmill doesn’t have any logs right now, you could ask them to call you if they ever have any scraps that they want to get rid of.

To find a sawmill near you, simply search for “sawmills near me” on Google and go through the listings.

10. Facebook Marketplace

Another place where you can get firewood locally is on Facebook Marketplace. While the platform is designed for buying and selling stuff locally, it sometimes has listings available for free stuff.

You may be able to find someone who’s giving away firewood on there.

11. Clean up After a Storm

Heavy wind, rain, or snow can often bring down branches or even entire trees, giving you the opportunity for lots of free firewood.

The average homeowner may not have the physical capacity, tools, or vehicle space to remove larger fallen branches from their fences or roofs, making this the perfect time for you to step in and haul off the debris for them.

Your payoff for a job well done? Free firewood! Just be sure to get out there quickly (once the storm has passed and it’s safe to do so); most towns begin their cleanup efforts rather quickly, which may cause you to miss your opportunity.

12. Hit up a Construction Site

Another spot to hunt down free firewood near you: anywhere they’re building a new home or business. The building can’t happen where there are trees, so more often than not there will be a lot of clearing going on to make way for new construction.

Take advantage of times where a company (or individual) is cutting down trees only to dispose of them by swooping in and removing the wood for them.

You probably won’t want all the wood they have (unless you have a ton of free storage space), but after getting permission to relieve them of the mess, you can pick through and take home what you want.

Construction sites are always a good place to start looking for this type of free firewood. If there doesn’t seem to be any building going on near you at the moment, try visiting a landfill instead—local construction companies may have already deposited their extra wood there, in which case you should have free reign to dig through and take what you need.

13. Offer Tree Trimming Services

If you have the expertise and equipment to prune back branches or trees, then you already have all the means necessary to score yourself some free firewood.

One way to get started is to drive around looking for dying or overgrown trees that need to be trimmed back (they may be hanging way over into the street or even hovering above someone’s house).

You can trim your own trees however often you want, but be sure to get permission from the necessary parties, like your neighbors or the city, before you start cutting away.

14. Ask Friends or Neighbors Cutting Trees Down

If you know of any neighbors or friends cutting trees down in their yard it can’t hurt to ask if you can take the wood. If they don’t already have a plan to dispose of the wood they generate, they’ll probably be glad to let you haul it away for them.

15. Look For Free Box Springs

Check on places such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for free box springs. While you will have to haul and disassemble these items, the wood supports are great for use as firewood. 

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16. Electric Company

Your local electric company is responsible for maintaining trees and shrubs near electric poles.

So, when the trees become too high and could potentially damage the poles, a tree company will generally come in and chop down the dangerous parts.

It’s a great idea to call the local electric company and ask them what they do with the trees they chop down. 

free firewood

With so many options out there, there’s no reason you can’t save money on firewood! All you have to do is ask!

Just remember that you don’t want to take wood without permission. Always ask before taking. Most places will be happy for you to take wood off their hands. 

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