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Permits allowing Californians to cut down their own Christmas trees will be available in forests throughout the state

Permits allowing residents to harvest their Christmas trees from California forests are opening up in the next couple weeks. CapRadio’s Manola Secaira has more.

Officials say Christmas tree permits play an important role in forest management. Lisa Herron is a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson with the Lake Tahoe Basin. She says the thousands of permits issued each year allow Californians to help thin overcrowded forests and even reduce fire risks.

Herron: "it's been a way to offer a traditional holiday experience while improving forest health by removing small diameter ladder fuels And a ladder fuel is actually vegetation that allows wildfire to climb up from the forest floor into the tops of the trees." She says permits for the Lake Tahoe Basin will be available for in-person purchase starting November 6th. Each permit is $10 with a limit of one per household. Other forests, like the El Dorado National Forest, will allow people the option to purchase permits online as well as in person.

Permits allowing Californians to cut down their own Christmas trees will be available in forests throughout the state in coming weeks. Among them is the El Dorado National forest, which will sell permits online beginning on October 28th. There will also be permits available for purchase in person on November 4th.

Alizabeth O’Neal is a spokesperson for the El Dorado National Forest. She says the forest is offering around 5,000 permits… and they’re pretty popular.

O’Neal: "typically we’ll sell out the day we open up concessions… when we do these in-person events, we will have lines that are like all the way down the block."

She says there’s also ecological benefits to the holiday tradition. Christmas tree cuttings help thin overcrowded forest areas.

If you aren’t able to grab a permit for this forest in person or online, O’Neal says to look for available permits in neighboring forests.