Businesses deal with shortage of firewood as winter drags on

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- If you see firewood in stores, buy it or take a picture of it -- because that's about the most you'll see of it for the rest of the season! That's because there is a shortage of firewood across southeastern Wisconsin -- and area businesses say they can't keep up with the demand.

Before you buy firewood, it is chopped, shaved and rid of any imperfections.

"Firewood needs to season and dry. Without that proper timing taking place, the wood is too green. It has too much moisture content," Jason Brown, the owner of Blue Flame Firewood said.

For one year, the firewood sits to try out.

"Unfortunately, we have to decline everyone because we just don't have seasoned wood available," Brown said.

Blue Flame Firewood sells firewood to commercial and retail outlets.

"By the end of December, it was completely empty as you see it now, so we're completely sold out to the public," Brown said.

Brown says cold weather drove the sales through December and with a propane shortage, he's seeing demand at an all-time high.

"We have sold out our firewood every single year, and every year, we keep doubling our output and our production, and this year -- this has probably been the most amazing season for firewood ever," Brown said.

At Bayside Garden Center, Steve Kolowith is seeing his firewood supply dwindle.

"People are staying home and just don't go out at night. They stay home for the weekend. It's usually at the holidays they do that and this year it seems like the season is extending," Kolowith said.

Customers load up by the bundle, to either warm a portion of their home, or, for Greg Capper, it's more about ambiance.

"It's part of what you do in Wisconsin. It's part of how we grew up. Thank God I've got the supply at home, but this was just to replenish the stock behind the stock," Capper said.

Several other supply businesses FOX6 News spoke with in the area say they are also running low on firewood -- or they are completely sold out.

Blue Flame still has some in its reserves, but it goes to businesses it has under contract for the entire year.