As you may have already heard, the recent invasion of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Beetle (PSHB) in South Africa has caused concern. The PSHB Beetle can attack several species of trees, particularly those with compromised immune systems such as Box Elder, Maple, Avocado and many fruit trees. Whilst not impossible, it is unusual for the PSHB to attack the Eucalyptus (Blue gum) and Black Wattle trees as they contain a very high percentage of water which is not an ideal environment for this beetle to breed. The only species of trees our company uses for firewood production are Blue Gum and Black Wattle. Both species are alien, extremely water-greedy, invasive trees, that were earmarked by the SA Department of Agriculture in 2010 for removal where found up to 20 meters either side of any natural running water. However, even if the dead tree had been infested during its life, our production process ensures that any bugs are dead before bagging. The seasoning process of our logs is between 10-12 months. Logs are cut from the dead trees and left to “solarize” in open fields (left to the natural elements of wind, rain and sun through the seasons thus naturally removing moisture content to below 17% in our case – the optimal level for efficient combustion and vastly depleting any dangerous emissions towards air pollution). According to academic papers, the PSHB beetle can survive 6-8 weeks on dead logs, but certainly no longer. Given that our log processing takes place for over 40 weeks and far away from any living trees, any bugs that might escape the solarization process would die before finding a suitable host to reproduce.
Every log we deliver will come with our Ready & Safe to Burn guarantee meaning our logs have been seasoned (moisture removed through the natural elements of wind, rain, sun and aeration) to below 17% moisture content. Between 14-19% moisture content is the industry-recommended parameter to provide efficient, easy lighting and economical combustion. Not only inefficient and terribly frustrating, but burning wet wood in a fireplace may also be dangerous to your health. Wet wood produces more smoke than dry wood, which releases more pollutants and small potentially dangerous particles into the air. Burning wet wood in a fireplace can also cause creosote buildup in your chimney, which may create a fire hazard over time.
Always ask any alternative suppliers for accurate moisture content levels before buying.
Should you ever not be satisfied with the burning quality of our logs, we will remove, replace or refund without question
Don’t be fooled by other firewood suppliers offering ‘loose pieces,
bakkie loads or weight’..
The vital question is how long will a load of logs last? 24 of our bags will last a household who burn for an average of 5 hours a day in a medium-sized fireplace or enclosed unit, approximately 6 weeks. That equates to around R44 per day..
Why you should avoid the following measurements of logs:
LOOSE PIECES – what size are the pieces? The Fire Man assures you of consistently sized logs 28-32cm long and 8-15cms wide. Our neat identical-sized bags filled to the same level every time remove any doubt on the volume of wood you receive. Counting the logs when they arrive at your home is not always an option and can often be inaccurate.
WEIGHT – DRY logs weigh far less than WET logs due to the higher amount of moisture content.
BAKKIE LOADS – there is a myriad of different-sized bakkies
Never compromise on quality for your winter firewood supply. Logs containing over 18% moisture content will simply not burn nor produce the kilojoules of heat we need to keep warm.
Supercharge your compost by adding your recycled ash. Growing plants need plenty of trace elements that ash contains, and it will actually increase the PH of your soil as ash is naturally alkaline. This will allow you to grow plants such as lavender and honeysuckle that are much loved by bees which wouldn’t be able to thrive in more acidic soils.
What’s more, if you have problems with slugs and snails, sprinkling ash around your plants will deter these creatures without having to use lethal poisons or expensive salt.
Information on our unique “dry guarantee”, understanding log moisture content & important facts to consider when buying your wood
WHAT IS THE FIRE MAN’S “UNIQUE DRY GUARANTEE” & WHAT IS “LOG MOISTURE CONTENT”?
All our wood products come with our unique Dry Guarantee. Logs are classed as dry if they have a moisture content reading of below 17%. The optimum moisture content for economical combustion and warmth production is between 13%-17%. Lower than 12% will burn too quickly, especially in an enclosed unit. Over 18% moisture content means the logs will be more difficult to ignite and will blacken the screen of a glass fronted unit. In order to achieve our optimum moisture content range, our logs are chopped then seasoned through at least two years lying in fields where they are exposed to the elements. Repeated exposure to rain, wind and sun is what seasons/dries our logs. Seasoning is the process of reducing the natural moisture content in wood, resulting in less smoke and a more uniform combustion when used as firewood. Seasoning is the traditional method for drying wood and can take between 18-24 months. Air flow through the stack is the key to removing moisture through evaporation. We are so sure that our logs contain this optimum moisture content that we will replace, refund or swap anything that falls outside of this range.
There are different wood types for different uses. Here, The Fire Man offers some advice on how to get the best from your wood supplies.
Kameeldoring & Mopane is often referred to as ‘The Rolls Royce’ of braai wood. It forms extremely hot coals in approximately 1 hour and can be used inside and outside for cooking and grilling for many hours thereafter. Rooikraans produces coals in around 40 minutes and can be used for cooking for up to an hour. Rooikraans also smokes so adds a certain taste to meat cooking.
Glass fronted heaters such as Morso, Heat & Glo, Jet Master, Heat Glo and the cast iron heating stoves (Franco Belge and Earth Fire Ceramic stoves) must be treated with the respect they deserve. Never use pine for example in one of these units as pine produces a resin which leaves an invisible film inside the flue pipe which becomes a serious fire hazard over time. Kameeldoring should not be used solely in a glass-fronted unit as the coals produced become so hot that over time, the metal of the unit will bend and the glass door can crack. Black Wattle and Blue Gum can be used alone or mixed and will create a beautifully constant source of heat. Beef Oak is a non-indigenous, invasive tree, originally from Australia.and only found in certain pockets around running water in South Africa. It is quite a hardwood and therefore, creates lovely coals that provide long and hot warmth in your fireplace. Mixed with blue gum, which is also highly recommended for open and enclosed fireplaces, adds longevity of heat making your fire heart last longer. We are very happy to have found a supply, but it is limited at this time.
There is no limitation to the type of woods one can burn in an open fireplace. As long as your chimney is cleaned each year and your vents are working correctly, your choices are then endless. For the most economical burning, we recommend blue gum or black wattle, Both are alien, very thirsty trees, and have been designated for removal anywhere near natural water sources. Blue Gum is a hard, dense log from the Eucalyptus family, long-lasting and burns longer before creating a fire heart. Black Wattle is a slightly softer wood, easier to ignite, and thus, is excellent hot burning firewood that was traditionally prized for wood-fired bakers ovens. It also lends itself to occasional braaing as it creates small residual coals. Beef Oak is a non-indigenous, invasive tree, originally from Australia.and only found in certain pockets around running water in South Africa. It is quite a hardwood and therefore, creates lovely coals that provide long and hot warmth in your fireplace. Beef Oak is also highly recommended for open and enclosed fireplaces, this adds longevity of heat, making your fire heart last longer. We are very happy to have found a supply, but it is limited at this time.