ALNA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The return of cold weather may be a problem for people who heat their homes with wood. Firewood dealers tell us a lot of woodpiles may be running low, because the cold weather in December and early January caused people to burn more wood than usual. That means some dealers - the ones who still have dry wood available -- are scrambling to get customers re-supplied.
At Black Fly Firewood in Alna, the owners say the phones have been ringing constantly with customers worried they may run out of wood. The company specializes in kiln-dried firewood, using a heated kiln that can dry green wood to be stove ready in just a few days. They say customers are happy to be able to find dry wood this time of year, and demand is so heavy they have a six to eight week backlog of orders.
Co-owner Louis Brown says he understands the customers' problem. Brown says his own home woodpile is far lower than it would normally be this time of year, and he suspects he won't have enough to last until spring. At one customer's home where he delivered today, Brown was told the person living there had been cutting dead trees in the woods to keep fire going after the supply in the woodshed ran out.
Brown and Dwane Sukeforth had a traditional firewood business for several years, but last year they bought out another local business that did kiln drying. They say using the kiln is the best way to ensure getting dry wood during the winter, when air-dried or seasoned firewood is typically not available. The price for kiln0dired runs $325 per cord, comparied to $280 for seasoned, but Brown and Sukeforth say the kiln-dried wood produces more heat, and is very popular with customers. They say that even with the higher price, kiln-dried wood is still less costly than heating oil.