If The Farmers Almanac is right, New England and most of the Northeast will experience a "numbing cold and snowy" winter. With temperatures heading downward and heating bills heading upward, wood and pellet stoves and fireplace inserts have been selling like hot cakes – and orders backlogged into February, report New England retailers.
The firewood business also has been "red hot", not just smoking. One marketer from the Pittsburgh, Pa., region reports that prices are up 10% to 20% from last year. A tightly-stacked (4-ftx4-ft.x8-ft.) cord of seasoned oak and locust was bringing $240 in late September.
That's considerably higher than prices gathered in a September online survey of classified newspaper advertisements by University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. But the survey suggests that prices are highest in more populated areas due to higher demand and distance from where the firewood is harvested.
In the heavily forested western Maryland region, firewood prices ranged from $100 to $180 a cord.
In central Maryland, firewood ranged from $186 to $230 a cord, with highest prices in Montgomery and Howard counties.
In southern Maryland, prices ran from $148 to $222 a cord, with top prices being paid in St. Mary's County.
On Eastern Shore, prices ranged from $150 to $185 a cord.
University of Maryland officials caution that much wood is sold "by the pickup load". Most half-ton pickups can only hold about one-half cord.