The bitter cold weather is again upon us and the state is looking to help those struggling to keep warm.

Those with the Department of Natural Resources have announced that permits to cut firewood in Michigan's forests are available now.

The permits traditionally aren't offered until April, but due to the severity of the winter and the shortage of propane and other fuels, state officials believe the wood is needed now.

There are limitations.  The buyer can collect up to five standard cords of wood per household on only designated forest land in the northern two-thirds of Michigan.  It cannot be resold or traded.

Ther permits cost $20 and are good for 90 days from issuance.  Those enrolled in the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program may qualify for reimbursement.

The permits can be purchased from any DNR field office and operations service centers.