Highway logs are not free firewood

Stopping along a highway for anything other than an emergency is against the law

STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The scenic overlook in Mystic is one of the few safe places where you can pull off to the side of I-95, but some folks may be dangerously doing so just up the highway in search of firewood.

Drive along I-95 in the eastern part of the state this week and you see lots of cut trees lying along the edge of the highway between Stonington and North Stonington. It’s tempting for those seeking free firewood, but the Department of Transportation says do not stop and load up the logs.

“I see it happen all the time,” said Bart Chamberlain of Mystic. “People stop by and pick it up. I think it’s dangerous.”

It’s also illegal. Not only is taking the wood stealing from the state, but stopping along a highway for anything other than an emergency is against the law for good reason: it can be dangerous and deadly.

“Along 95 along 395 I see it all the time,” said Chamberlain.

The state has been trying to reclaim the 30-foot right of way by clearing trees ever since the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The tree cutting is expected to continue for years to come.

Stealing firewood is forbidden on highways and even secondary roads where taking the wood is also illegal.

“I think a lot of people think it’s free because it’s chopped up,” said Chamberlain. “That’s not the case.”

Because the tree work is done during the day, some may try to get the logs after dark and that could be even more dangerous.

Copyright 2015 WTNH

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