Wood Resources – Not Always Easy to Get

Tree Stumps Make Great Fire WoodWhile many people are stocking up on propane and gasoline to operate furnaces and generators, others are stocking up on wood.  Many people think that having a large supply of propane will get them through any hard time that might come along.  And, for the most part that’s true.  Not everyone believes there is a possibility, however remote, that they could run out of propane before the difficult time is over.  This makes wood one of the most important resources.  There’s a reason for that.

Every family will need wood in the event of a significant world changing event for heating and cooking.  Many people think if something happens they’ll just go out and get some.  The question to them is “How?”.  How are they going to cut down the tree?  Do they even own a chain saw with plenty of gas for it?  How will they get the wood if they don’t have a truck or other way to get the wood home?  How will they get wood if they live in an area with few or no trees?  How many people are they willing to fight off for one tree, or even part of a tree?

Collecting and storing wood should be considered one of the most important activities for prepping.  Here are some tips to help you collect wood for your emergency stores.

  • In regions sparsely wooded or nearly no trees, finding wood can be as simple as going to your local dump.  The same place you go for mulch also has mountains of wood.  Much of it is going to be stumps.  That’s okay.  Stumps make great camp stoves.  Choose your stumps well.  Make sure they are not eaten through by termites.  That’s the last thing you want to bring home.  There’s going to be other wood as well.  
  • While at the dump, or other area with cut boards, be sure not to take any construction wood that has been treated with chemicals.  The chemicals will not only get in the air for your family to breath, but will also contaminate any food you cook.  What good is it to survive an event if you or your family is going to suffer a worse end for it?
  • When there is a storm or tornado that downs many trees, be a volunteer.  Not only are you helping those in need, but you are also stocking up on wood.  Haul off as many loads of wood as you can.  Cut downed trees and put them in the back of your truck or on your trailer.  In such a situation, charging someone to haul off the wood seems wrong, especially when benefiting from their troubles.
  • If you live where there are no trees to harvest, be ready to travel.  That means have enough fuel set aside for your chainsaw, a trailer as big as the law allows, and a truck to tow the setup.  Go to where the disasters are to volunteer your services.  If you have to drive a few hundred miles to get the wood, the money is nothing if that wood is the difference between freezing to death and cooking.
  • Store the wood appropriately.  How many times have you seen a picturesque woodpile next to a building, or in a row along a fence?  That’s an okay way to store the wood if you are going to use it all up in a season.  Needing to store cut wood for many years?  No more stacking it directly on the ground.  It needs to be off the ground so that all the wood can dry after a rain.  Some people use the big round metal wood racks.  Others lay it on a concrete floor or patio.  What ever you choose, be certain the wood can dry quickly.  Cover it so moisture isn’t so much a problem.  Some people cover it with plastic tarps.  Others store wood in the wood shed.
  • If wood must be stored outside, it is important to inspect it regularly for termites.  Any wood found to be infested, get rid of it, and the termites, quickly.  Do not bring termite infested wood into the house.  Burn that wood outside.  Any wood showing signs of rot, use it up first.
  • Wood stored outside or on the ground will absorb moisture either from rain, fog, or sitting on the damp ground.  The problem with this is that wet wood won’t burn.  Well, not easily and maybe not safely.  If your wood supply gets wet, remember to place wet wood on an existing fire.  It will dry and burn, but the moisture trapped inside will cause it to “snap”, “crackle” and “pop”.  This results in flying hot embers.  Splitting the down the length will help it dry and burn better.  If you don’t have an existing fire, you’ll have to start small with twigs, paper and other small things to get the fire started.  Gradually add larger pieces of wood until the fire is the size you desire.
  • If the only wood is a tree stump still in the ground, use it.  Saw down to ground level in a pattern like a six slice pie.  Light the fire in the center and between “slices” to use as a cook top.

If you have other ideas to add to the post, please do!

photo by: donjd2