‘Extremely challenging’ year for N.B. fireplace, firewood suppliers as demand heats up

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Maritime Fireplaces owner Pat Bourque says record-high heating oil prices have more customers buying wood stoves and fireplaces to heat their homes.

“Not just in our area, but even in the rest of the country, there’s been a huge demand. So our supply has been limited as far as getting wood stoves from our manufacturers,” he said in an interview on Friday.

“There’s not only a North American demand (for wood heating) but even a worldwide demand.’

He said he gets between five and 10 people a day in his store in Moncton inquiring about wood stoves and fireplaces.

Even those who are able to purchase a wood heat source might face difficulty in purchasing firewood.

Firewood supplier Ronnie Steeves said this year has been “extremely challenging” for the industry.

Steeves runs an operation out of McQuade, a small village roughly 15 kilometres from Moncton.

“We just had such a rush of people that called in August that it basically put us booked for the whole season,” he said.

He said he and most other suppliers didn’t have any leftover wood this year because of last year’s harsh winter.

“The loggers are having an extremely hard time in the woods with the high fuel costs,” he said.

“Most commercial firewood operations do not harvest in the woods. They buy from contractors. The contractors are a lifeline. If they’re struggling, we’re struggling.”

He has already had to downsize his list of clients due to high operating costs this year, and plans to further downsize next year.

“As there are less producers to do firewood and sales have increased, people have to be more aware and book early. It might seem farfetched, but we’re actually taking orders right now for next spring,” he said.

Bourque advises anyone looking to reduce heating costs this year to update their equipment in order to be more energy efficient.

“Replace those old stoves if they’re pre-1980 with a more efficient stove because they’re going to cut their heating bills down by a third,” he said.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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