WEED, Calif. — The government shutdown is putting local firewood suppliers in a bind.
It’s certainly feeling like fall and temperatures are dropping overnight, which means many residents in the community of Weed are using wood to heat their homes.
Weed resident Gary Gepner needs firewood to keep warm this winter and right now his supply is dwindling. He’s stuck with what he has now because the government shutdown closed the doors to the national forest offices.
That means he can’t get the paperwork needed to keep his own home warm or help keep other homes warm by selling firewood. Gepner wants to use dead and downed trees on forest land, but he fears punishment if he cuts illegally while talks continue on Capitol Hill.
“You will be punished, both either by a fine or by having your wood rights taken; your saws, your truck impounded, the wood…Cutting illegally on the mountain is a big thing. And that’s why I am wondering what’s going on because legally I can’t,” said Gepner.
At this point, Gepner has enough for himself to last a little while, but not enough to provide for his commercial clients. Until the Mt. Shasta Forest Service Office opens back up and the government shutdown comes to an end, it’s just a waiting game for the people here wanting to cut firewood.