USDA, Alliance for Green Heat partner to expand firewood banks

By USDA | October 06, 2022

The USDA’s Forest Service awarded more than $712,000 from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the Alliance for Green Heat to expand firewood banks in 2022 and to add more banks in 2023 to serve more people. Firewood banks, like food banks, provide a local, renewable and cost-effective heating source for people in need.

The Forest Service is partnering with the Alliance for Green Heat to provide key financial assistance through its small grants program, which helps to supply firewood banks with needed tools and equipment. This winter, Alliance for Green Heat will provide grants between $5,000 and $15,000 to support firewood banks.

There are more than 100 firewood banks across the country that distribute firewood to needy families. Often, firewood is their only source of heat at a time when gas, oil or electricity is less affordable.

“For many tribal and rural communities across the country, firewood is the primary source of heat,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The Alliance for Green Heat and the firewood banks they serve will improve access to renewable wood energy, helping those without access to this life saving resource when they need it the most.”

Firewood banks receive logs from towns, tree trimmers, loggers and other donors. They largely rely on volunteers to cut, split, season, and deliver firewood to local households who have run out of firewood and cannot afford to buy more.

Some firewood banks are small and may only produce 10 cords (about 128 cubic feet), or enough wood for 10 households. Other firewood banks are much larger, processing up to 100 cords in a season. This funding from the Forest Service will also help the banks with the most common needs, such as chainsaws, splitters, protective clothing, and material for sheds to properly season the wood.

“Firewood has always been ‘the people’s fuel,’ and used both by households wanting to get off of fossil fuel and by those who can’t afford fossil fuel,” said John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat. “This grant will go a long way to bolstering a national network of people helping people to stay warm this winter.”

This year, the Alliance will distribute up to $590,000, primarily to existing wood banks who served households last winter. A primary goal is to increase the capacity of existing wood banks to provide greater volumes of seasoned wood. Next winter, the Alliance will also focus on newly formed wood banks. Applications may be submitted beginning on Oct. 15 at

For more information about firewood banks, visit