HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — After winter weather hit East Tennessee overnight, Roane County officials want to remind residents that free firewood is available.
Every Monday and Tuesday, any Roane County resident can stop by the Roane County Highway Department to pick up free firewood.
Dennis Ferguson, the county’s highway superintendent, said he started the program about five years ago for two main reasons: to help those in need and to save money by not taking fallen trees to the landfill.
“We were just having so many trees that we was taking down and it seemed like it was all the time. We were having to haul them here, then to the landfill, or find a place to dump them,” Ferguson said.
The department bought a wood-splitter and started offering free wood.
Roane County inmates help cut the trees, split the wood and load the logs into residents’ vehicles.
He said churches will often volunteer to help cut, split and load the wood. Church members will also pick the wood up, bring them to their church, and give the logs to elderly members who can’t pick it up themselves.
Ferguson said he enjoys giving free firewood to churches so they can use the money to buy food or other necessities people need, instead of spending $50 or more for firewood.
To pick up the free firewood, residents need to sign in at the Roane County Highway Department with their name and address.
Ferguson said he only has two rules for people picking up firewood: the wood must stay in Roane County, per orders from the U.S. Forestry Department, and the wood must stay free.
“We ask people not to sell the firewood. We want people to use it (or) give it to somebody that needs it,” Ferguson said.
He said the department won’t pick up wood from someone’s property.
He said they don’t drop the firewood off at anyone’s home, but if someone can’t drive to the office, then Ferguson will try to figure something out.
Ferguson said it’s best to reach out to the department before picking up wood, just in case they ran out or don’t have anyone to help load up the wood.
The Roane County Highway Department is located at 3070 Roane State Highway in Harriman. The department’s phone number is 865-882-9782.
Highway department staff can also be reached via Facebook.
Monroe County also offers free firewood to residents.
Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones said residents will need to pick up an application at the Sheriff’s Office first.