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Wet summer, gas prices affect firewood supply

BEMIDJI — Wet weather this year and soaring propane prices last winter have tightened supplies of seasoned firewood in northern Minnesota.

Not only are homeowners struggling to find sources of dry wood, but paper and saw mill inventories are lower than usual.

Minnesota Timber Producers Association Vice President Wayne Brandt said the wet summer prevented logging on many sites. Loggers who might have supplied homeowners are instead taking their wood to mills, which pay a higher price.

Logger Jed Flannery at Global Log and Lumber in Webster, Wis., said paper mills are paying a premium for wood, so it makes more sense to sell to them.

Demand is also driven by high propane prices last winter that had residents turning to alternatives, such as wood, to heat their homes in rural areas where natural gas isn’t an option.