Maine seeing high demand for firewood as price for heating oil, propane spikes – Bangor Daily News

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GORHAM, Maine — More Mainers seem to be trading in traditional heating fuel like oil and propane for firewood, as the price of petroleum continues to spike ahead of the winter season.
At Southern Maine Firewood in Gorham, their season is usually winding down but now still working full steam ahead to keep up with growing demand.
“It’s a big deal,” said owner Jake Dyer. “You’ve seen some high demand through the years. You get these spikes, but people are worried and they should be worried. Having heating oil at $6 a gallon is just crazy.”
While wood has remained the cheaper option for many to stay warm this winter, it’s seen an increase as well. It’s being blamed on the higher fuel costs that seem to be impacting the entire wood supply chain, from the loggers to the transporters and the sellers.
“Right now, we’ve been trying to hold the price down a little bit,” Dyer said. “But diesel fuel is killing us. That, labor, parts, everything has gone through the roof. Even the price of wood for me to buy it.”
Dyer is set to sell nearly 4,000 cord of wood this year, but says he could have doubled that if prices stabilized and loggers had more supply. Those challenges are also impacting families trying to buy wood now, rather than over summer.
“There’s plenty of demand, there’s just not enough wood out there,” Dyer said.
The higher demand is also impacting organizations like the Cumberland Wood Bank which, like a food bank, offers free wood to those in need.
The organization can only help those in its surrounding communities, but has seen people reach out from across the state in recent weeks.
“We were flooded with requests that we just wouldn’t be able to fill,” said volunteer John Hankinson.
So far this season, the wood bank has helped about 15 families in their area. The organization has also sold some of its supply of wood to help fund other fuel assistance programs.
“If they approach us and they don’t burn wood but they need help with an oil or gas delivery, we take care of that for them,” Hankinson said.
Wood banks have become more popular across the region in recent years. Recently, the University of Maine received a grant for $62,500 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage more communities to create wood banks.
You can find more information about local wood banks and how to donate or volunteer here. For those in need of fuel assistance this winter, whether that be with heating oil or wood, more information can be found here.

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