Firewood shortage becomes fuel for frustration

January 19, 2015
By Jack Newsham Globe Correspondent
Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe Staff

Most suppliers are now completely out of wood, and what is available costs 15 to 25 percent more than last year.

Last winter’s numbing cold created a run on firewood over the summer as New Englanders stocked up early to make sure their woodpiles were high. The result: Most suppliers are now completely out of wood, and what is available costs 15 to 25 percent more than last year.

“I probably called five or six places. They were all completely out,” said Moira Munns, a Natick resident who said she lights a fire about once a week for the atmosphere it lends her home. “At some places, it was just a recorded message: ‘We have no firewood for the season.’ ”

A Hyde Park firewood salesman, Paul Fulmore, said he got 40 calls on the day before Thanksgiving from customers who had waited until the last minute to lay in a holiday wood supply.

“I stopped answering the phone. I couldn’t take it anymore,” Fulmore said. “The demand has exceeded the supply. Everyone upped their orders.”

Fulmore said he has increased prices, but not enough to cover the rise in his wholesale costs. Last year, his supplier in Vermont charged him $335 for a cord of kiln-dried firewood, which at 128 cubic feet is about the size of 170 bundles like those sold outside of grocery stores. His supplier has raised prices almost 25 percent, to $410 a cord. To spare his customers, he said, he has raised prices only by $60 a cord, cutting into his profits.

vThere are several reasons for the slowdown. Fresh-cut wood doesn’t burn well because of its high water content, so most sellers air-dry their wood for an entire year… READ FULL STORY AT BOSTON GLOBE >>