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by Greta Yeoman

Demand for firewood is going strong in South Canterbury, wood stockists say.

Temuka Timber and Firewood owner Dean Anderson said things had been “a bit busier” than last year.

Despite ongoing encouragement by wood stockists for people to buy wood early, most only kicked into gear when the first cold weather hit, he said.

“Everyone just keeps leaving it to the last minute.”

He expected stocks to be short again this year and said the business’s wood pile was already “getting down”.

Fellow Environment Canterbury-approved merchant Peter Goodman said demand had been strong, so much so he had briefly stopped advertising to catch up with the needs of his loyal customers.

He said people often complained about the high price of wood, but that was because those stockists chased the dry wood market and it cost more to buy good, dry wood.

Mr Goodman estimated there were more than 100 people around South Canterbury selling low-priced wood from their backyards, but it was rarely dry.

Despite the cheaper cost of such wood, it was better to buy wood from approved stockists that people knew was dry and ready to be used, he said.

Topcut owner Don George said demand had been “very high” this year and he had almost sold out of his yard stocks.

He would open up his shed stocks in the next few weeks but expected that to also be popular, having sold out in seven weeks last year.

There had been about a three-week wait for deliveries but this was slowly “coming down”, he said.

People buying wood just before winter was “pretty much” the same as last year. In fact residents seemed to be buying later and later each year.

Competition with backyard wood sellers was an ongoing issue, he said.

“[We have] had that for years.”