Serving the High Plains

Keep an eye out when buying firewood

If you plan to buy firewood, know what to avoid to get your money's worth.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture Standards and Consumer Services Division enforces the state's Weights and Measures Law, which includes how firewood must be advertised and sold to maintain fairness in the marketplace.

State law requires firewood to be advertised and sold by the cord or fraction of a cord. A cord is legally defined as 128 cubic feet of wood and is commonly seen in a tight stack 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long, with logs stacked parallel to each other.

State law also requires the seller to provide a receipt or invoice noting what fraction of a cord is being sold and the type of wood.

State law allows for firewood to be sold by the pound in lesser amounts, but the seller must declare the price-per-cord equivalent. This does not apply to firewood sold in packaged bundles fewer than 100 pounds.

Raymond Johnson, NMDA Standards and Consumer Services Division director, said consumers should be aware of the law regarding firewood.

"This time of year, you might see some roadside firewood sellers or Craigslist sellers using certain terms, such as face cord, loose cord, Albuquerque cord, truckload, load, rack or pile," Johnson said. "But none of those are actual legal units of measurement. You really don't know whether you're getting a fair deal when you buy firewood labeled in these ways."

Johnson said customers should look for firewood sold by the cord or fraction of a cord.

Keep in mind these things when buying firewood in New Mexico:

• The buyer should have the firewood stacked and measured when the seller is present.

• It is illegal to sell firewood in unspecified quantities such as load, truckload, face cord, rack, pile or loose cord.

• If firewood is sold by weight, the seller must declare the price per unit of weight and the equivalent price per cord. This does not apply to fuel wood sold in packaged bundles less than 100 pounds.

• Each delivery of firewood must be accompanied by a receipt or invoice containing the name and address of the buyer and seller, date of delivery, quantity delivered, identity of the commodity and the total selling price.

• If possible, the buyer should get the seller's phone number and write down the license plate of the delivery vehicle.

• Bundles of kindling wood or similar packages must be labeled with a statement of net content in terms of weight or measure.

• The label must include the name and place of business of the packager or distributor and a word or phrase identifying the product.

For information about firewood sales, visit or call NMDA's Standards and Consumer Services Division at 575-646-1616.

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