The Firewood Police? Seriously?


Chilly nights have more and more New Mexicans making use of their fireplaces and stoves. But watch out — state law controls how wood is “advertised and sold.”

That’s no joke. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture issued a press release warning that with the exception of “packaged bundles,” wood must be sold “either by the cord or fraction of a cord.” A cord is “128 cubic feet of wood, commonly seen in a tight stack 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long, with logs stacked parallel to one another.” Wood can be sold “by weight, but the seller must declare the price-per-cord equivalent.”

“We sometimes see firewood sellers using a variety of terms — face cord, loose cord, Albuquerque cord, truckload, load, rack, pile — but none of these are [sic] actual legal units of measurement,” said Ray Johnson, assistant division director of the department’s Standards and Consumer Services Division. “So when you see firewood labeled in these ways, it’s impossible to know whether you’re getting a fair deal or not.”

This morning, a bureaucrat appeared on KKOB AM to remind listeners of the law. And today, the Mountain View Telegraph is running the department’s release.

Heaven forfend vendors and their customers deciding between themselves what’s being sold, and at what price. Don’t state bureaucrats have bigger concerns on their plate?