Applications for the Forest Service's annual Christmas tree cutting program are now available online, at Forest Service offices and some public libraries.
Completed applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 1 to receive consideration. Any applications postmarked after the deadline will not be accepted for the drawing and will be returned.
Hand-delivered applications will not be accepted.
Unlike previous years, applicants are asked not to mail payment with their request. Those who are chosen by lottery will be asked to send payment for a permit and cutting area map.
Applications for tags to cut a Christmas tree on one of four Arizona national forests are available for printing at the Tonto National Forest Web site (www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto).
The drawing and processing of applications will begin Oct. 9. Notices will be mailed to all successful and unsuccessful applicants no later than Oct. 19.
The notice will request that tag winners should send a check or money order for $10 to the program office in order to receive a tag with a detailed map for the cutting area.
Tag winners must make payment no later than Nov. 1. Unclaimed tags will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis beginning Nov. 13.
This year only 3,950 trees are available.
Applicants may select up to five tree-cutting areas in order of preference. Chances of receiving a tag will increase based on the number of tree-cutting areas selected.
Some cutting area locations may require greater travel time. Changing weather and road conditions during the cutting period of Nov. 9 through Dec. 24 may also affect selections.
A general map of cutting area locations with information about tree species and number of permits available in each cutting area is included with each application.
The Apache-Sitgreaves NF has all species available in their tree-cutting areas.
The Kaibab NF has one cutting area available for piñon or juniper.
The entire Prescott NF is available for any tree species.
The Tonto NF has one cutting area available around Payson for either piñon or juniper.
For more information about the program, call the Christmas Tree Hotline at 602-225-5258.