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Get What You Pay For When Buying Firewood

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As we get into the cooler part of the year, people are using their fireplaces more often, but buying firewood can be a challenge if you do not know how to measure what is being sold.

“People may not realize that a cord is the standard measurement for firewood. Vendors must sell firewood by the cord or fractions of a cord. Our inspectors regulate the method of sale for firewood to make sure sellers are following the law,” said County Sealer of Weights and Measures, Robert Atkins.

A cord is equal to 128 cubic feet, measuring four feet wide by four feet high by eight feet long when the pieces of wood are stacked facing the same direction with as little space as possible in between the logs. California law prohibits the following terms of measurement from being used in advertising the sale of firewood: truckload, pallet, face cord, rack, rick, tier or pile.

Tips for buying firewood and storing it safely include:

  • Get a receipt or invoice, including the seller’s name and address, date of purchase or delivery, the quantity and price. Also note the license plate number of the delivery vehicle.
  • If there’s a mistake with your order, contact the seller before you use the wood.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved, contact the County of San Diego Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures at (858) 694-2739 or visit the department's Web site.
  • Store firewood at least 50 feet from your home and clear flammable vegetation within ten feet.
  • To keep rodents out of your woodpile, stack it at least 18 inches above the ground and 12 inches away from walls and fences.

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