An eastern Iowa company is turning a problem into an opportunity when it comes to firewood. Iowa Firewood Products of Preston uses three kilns to bake the moisture out of split wood to get it ready to burn, and it’s a process that also kills the emerald ash borer, allowing the wood to be shipped outside the quarantine put on to stop the spread of the ash borer.
Derek Heiar runs the company that’s the first to be licensed to export firewood beyond the quarantine. “It makes us feel good knowing we’re doing the best we can to slow the spread of the beetle,” Heiar says. “What we’re doing is trying to reach 230 degrees and then we’re trying to hold that for 30 hours. Typically they run all day, every day, all year long.”
Recent mild winters left some dealers with piles of unsold firewood, but this year’s cold burned up supplies or left wood that was too green to burn. “There’s not near enough here in our area in the midwest, we cannot make wood fast enough,” Heiar says. Heiar says he moved out 225 semi loads of his processed firewood last year.
He says up to 15-percent of that came from threatened ash trees and it finds a use for the trees that are being removed. “They’re gonna cut all these ash trees, if anything it may help increase the numbers, the volume of firewood might come up,” Heiar says. Iowa Firewood Products sells its certified, bundled firewood at Home Depot and some Hy-Vee stores.