‘Cow­boys’ sell­ing wet wood

The Press - - News -

Fire­wood re­tail­ers are warn­ing con­sumers to watch out for ‘‘cow­boys’’ sell­ing wet wood on so­cial me­dia.

De­mands for fire­wood in Christchurch is peak­ing ahead of win­ter, with wait times for big­ger loads al­ready stretch­ing out to more than two months.

City Fire­wood man­ager Rob­bie Har­ris said he had heard com­plaints from cus­tomers say­ing wood they had bought on­line was too wet and would not burn, so they had to buy more fire­wood from a re­tailer to keep their home warm.

Har­ris said op­por­tunists were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fact fire­wood be­came scarcer when de­mand went up.

‘‘They are ad­ver­tis­ing on so­cial me­dia that their wood is dry, or ready to burn, or ready next week, ex­cept that it is not,’’ he said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, we get lots of peo­ple com­ing in who have been conned by these peo­ple. Sur­pris­ingly this wood isn’t even cheap, it’s of­ten com­pa­ra­ble, or even more ex­pen­sive than our wood.’’

Har­ris said there was still plenty of wood avail­able, though not in every va­ri­ety, and his staff were work­ing hard to pre­pare to fill back or­ders.

Na­tional In­sti­tute of Wa­ter and At­mo­spheric Re­search (NIWA) pro­jec­tions sug­gest this win­ter will be sim­i­lar to last year – quite cold.

Har­ris ex­pected de­mand would be high for fire­wood top­ups and last-minute stock-ups.

Many de­layed buy­ing fire­wood be­cause of the ex­tended good sum­mer weather, then rushed to place or­ders when the tem­per­a­ture dropped.

City Fire­wood staff were work­ing seven days a week to fill the or­der back­log, with some cus­tomers wait­ing up to nine weeks for large loads due to the time it took to pro­duce dry, sea­soned wood. Har­ris said smaller loads were avail­able at any time.

A re­cent surge in ex­ports to more than 1.1 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of logs a month has cre­ated a short­age of some spe­cific fire­wood va­ri­eties in the South Is­land.

Styx Fire­wood owner David Richards said he had been deal­ing with very high de­mand since Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘We are man­ag­ing to keep it down to a cou­ple of weeks for de­liv­er­ies, but fire­wood is in very short sup­ply in the city.

‘‘With a huge over­seas de­mand, it’s all go­ing to the port and we get what’s left.’’

A staffer from City Fire­wood in front of a six me­tre­high pile of kiln dried fire­wood.

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