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      Firewood supply burns up with growing demand

      I t's a staple in northern Michigan, but this year there's a shortage of firewood and it's driving prices up.

      Over the last few years , wood burning stoves have sky rocketed in popularity a nd the main reason is natural gas prices have gone up .

      " Wood is definitely the cheapest way to heat your home, natural gas second, and wood pallet stoves third ," Jeff Dufek, Emmet Brick and Block Sales Associate said.

      W ood has become the best option for many northern Michigan families.

      A nd because the demand is so high , if you didn't buy your wood early , you might be out of luck.

      " It's hard to come by right now this time of year and you are paying a premium for it also ," Dufek said.

      A dozen firewood suppliers in Emmet County say the same thing, they were completely sold out for the season.

      E xcept for one , G reg LaCount, the Ax Man of Petoskey.

      " A lot of my customers have called me and some have already used what they had," LaCount said. "Close to what they did all of last winter, already at this point."

      L a C ount's voicemail has been flooded with people looking for wood.

      H e has enough to sell for the rest of the month , but will likely sell out before the end of the winter.

      A nd as for the price , it might seem high , $ 85 a cord. B ut LaCount says that's right on par with different costs associated with production

      " We are handling this wo o d a second time around, we have already called it in stockpiled it and now we have to haul it again so the cost is going to be more," LaCount said.

      LaC ount says he is currently in the process of locking down more wood so he can keep up with the demand for the rest of the winter.