Special law officers and Bureau of Land Management rangers are taking to the woods this month to control commercial theft of Christmas trees and firewood on public lands, the BLM says.

The officers and rangers will work with BLM resource personnel, the U.S. Forest Service, deputy sheriffs and the Utah Highway Patrol, said Marty Phillips, a criminal investigator for the federal agency."Each year thousands of pinon, juniper, white fir and other species of conifer trees are illegally cut and sold for $20 or more apiece in the Las Vegas and Wasatch Front areas," Phillips said.

"Thousand of cords of firewood are also removed and sold at $80 per cord in these same cities," he said.

Although past enforcement efforts have been restricted because of limited personnel, officials said they hope the cooperative effort with other law enforcement agencies and the Forest Service will help curb the problem.