Firewood shortage causes worry

By Steph McNicol

People relying on firewood to warm their homes this winter have expressed concerns over a shortage from their suppliers.

Glenaroua resident Tanya Matthews said she had experienced difficulty in buying firewood to heat her home.

Ms Matthews said she worried if people were unable to heat their homes it would pose a risk to their health.

She said she was not the only person struggling to heat her home during cold days and colder nights.

“I knew I would struggle this winter…I’m not the only one in this position. If we were to triage this problem it’s way down the line of COVID-19 but imagine an elderly person in the same situation,” she said.

“I live in an old house and our only other option is the split system, but when it gets below two degrees it freezes and shuts down.

“Last year running the split systems we would pay $300 a month on electricity, but if we were to run it now without the fireplace, it would be $400 to $500 a month.

“It’s a health issue and the supply available has slowed down. It’s not about not having the money to purchase supplies, we just can’t.”

Ms Matthews said she was sure there was miscommunication between governments and maybe they had been unaware of the shortage.

“I think it’s a matter of our government getting together with the New South Wales government, because people in the industry are aware but I don’t think it’s filtered up to the government,” she said.

However, supplier Dave’s Dirt Works in Broadford urged residents to use common sense when it came to burning the wood and said the country was burning more wood than ever before.

“We’ve already started burning into next year’s supply,” a spokesperson said.

“Normally in our business, I need 300 tonnes a week. Now I’m getting about 75 tonnes a week, and the problem isn’t with sourcing it.

“The country is burning more wood than ever before, and we even had people coming up from Melbourne to buy wood.”

The spokesperson said the problem stemmed from people being home for more hours in the day due to COVID-19 restrictions, and to keep warm they were burning twice the amount of wood.

“People are freezing so they will continue burning it, but they have to be conservative – there’s no hope to fix the problem this firewood season,” the spokesperson said.

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