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State gives tips on buying firewood

As the winter months set in, more people are buying firewood to ward off the cold. When buying firewood though, consumers need to be aware of what they are payiong for. Mike Smith has the story.

Weather in a stove or a fireplace, day or night, a wood fire seems to feel just right when the temperature drops. Related to purchasing firewood, the Missouri Department of Agriculture wants consumers to be informed so they can make sure they get what they pay for. Steve Gill, with the Department of Agriculture's Device and Commodity Program says when ordering firewood, be sure to ask the how the seller measures the wood, and then make sure those standards are precise and accurate. He says the proper dimensions of a cord of wood measure 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long. A cord also can measure 2x4x16. "As long as the dimensions of the stacked wood equal 128 cubic feet, you have a cord of wood." says Gill. Of course one can buy more or less than a cord but Gill says to be easily accounted for, it should be a multiple of 128 cubic feet. Here in the Ozarks, Rick and Rank are terms used to describe amounts of wood less than a cord but Gill says to stick with multiples of a cord.

In the Springfield area, for a cord of firewood, consumers are paying 110 dollars delivered, to 135 dollars delivered and stacked. Outside the city, one can find lower prices for the wood. Often, firewood is sold by the pile or truck load with a verbal agreement or handshake, and Gill says that's fine as long as the consumer is happy with the transaction.

Gill says don't pay for the wood until it has been stacked, measured, and inspected. He says to get a receipt with the sellers name, address, phone number, and the price, amount, and kind of wood purchased. He also suggests writing down the delivery vehicle license number and taking a picture of the wood if you think it is less than you paid for.

For more information about purchasing firewood, contact the Division of Weights and Measures Device and Commodity

Inspection Program at 573-751-5639, or visit the Missouri Department of Agriculture web site:

Reporting for KSMU News, I'm Mike Smith.