With the current winter temperatures at hand, the Fresno County Agriculture Department is warning consumers purchasing firewood to be aware of inaccurate sales practices.

“There are many wood dealers eager to sell at attractive prices, but how do you know if you’re getting what’s advertised? The only way to know for sure is to measure what is sold,” said Deputy Stace Leoni in their December “Horizon” newsletter.

A full cord of wood measures 4 feet in length by 8 feet in width and will be 4 feet tall. Another accurate dimension is 16 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Either way, a full cord should measure 128 cubic feet.

Leoni warns consumers to be wary of terms such as bin, rack, rick, tier, pile or truckload as these terms are illegal to use in the sale of firewood.

“Some wood dealers try to sell firewood from a pick-up truck. Be on your guard because a truck cannot hold a cord of firewood. An 8-foot truck bed can hold one-half of a cord while a 6-foot bed can barely hold one-third of a cord,” she said.

Firewood purchasers are also advised to get an invoiced or delivery ticket that shows the name and address of the seller, date of purchase or delivery, quantity purchased and price.

“The seller is required by law to give you this information in writing. Take note of the license plate number of the delivery vehicle, if needed,” she said.

If consumers think they have been given an inaccurate amount, they should ask the seller to correct the problem. Maintain the wood in the condition it was delivered, take a photograph and do not burn any, Leoni said.

If the seller does not correct the problem, contact the Fresno County Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures Division at 600-7510.

Consumers are also advised to check the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s website to see if it’s a permissible burn day at http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/cbyb.htm.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.