Don’t get burned when purchasing firewood

As outdoor enthusiasts prepare for summer camping, the Colorado Department of Agriculture strongly recommends purchasing firewood from a reputable dealer.

“Bulk firewood sellers in Colorado are required to provide a receipt with their business name and address as well as the price, amount and type of wood sold,” said Nick Brechun, CDA’s Measurement Standards Program administrator.

CDA cautions consumers against the purchase of firewood advertised by the terms truckload, face cord, rick, fireplace cord or pile. These terms do not allow for the facilitation of a value comparison for the purchaser. For instance, the size of one truckload may be different than the size of the seller’s competitor. Thus the consumer would have no way of knowing which would be the better buy.

When firewood is purchased in bulk, the appropriate method of sale is by the cord or fractional cord. The amount of wood in a cord consists of a neatly stacked volume of wood that equals 128 cubic feet. For example, one cord equals a stack of wood that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Once a purchase is made, the buyer should stack their wood in the manner described above to get a good idea if they received the amount paid for.

Bundled firewood is commonly seen at grocery and convenience stores. The correct method of sale for bundles is the cubic foot. The actual amount of wood must meet the quantity declaration. Bundles must be properly labeled with net volume, wood type and responsible party contact information. Department inspectors verify compliance at retail locations throughout Colorado.

“CDA’s Inspection and Consumer Services Division has inspectors statewide who investigate complaints involving misrepresentation or mislabeling of firewood,” said Brechun. “One way of helping to ensure the consumer receives what they pay for is for them to be knowledgeable about the product as well as the business they are buying from.”

Contact the Measurement Standards office at 303-867-9232 with questions or for help in disputes regarding the sale of firewood.

CDA also warns that transporting firewood can spread insects and diseases that kill trees. CDA participates in the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program, which involves the early detection of exotic pests that threaten Colorado’s agriculture and environment. These pests may be found on firewood. One easy tip to help protect Colorado’s forests is to: Burn It Where You Buy It. Campers are urged to buy their firewood at their destination, thus preventing the spread of any insects or diseases that can be found in or on the wood.

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