DEALING WITH RAIN WET FIREWOOD
With the return of La Nina weather patterns, Eastern Australia is receiving more rain than it has for many years. Recently large parts of NSW and Qld have been inundated, with damaging floods affecting some areas. In these wet conditions it is common for existing wood piles and even new deliveries of firewood to become wet from rain water, however this is not a problem as long as the wood is stored correctly.
High density Eucalypt species hardwoods are the most common species used for firewood in Australia. The true wood or heartwood of this species is reasonably impervious to water. The sapwood, which is the outer 2 or 3 cm of a tree does absorb water more easily, but it also dries out quickly.
If your firewood has been exposed to rain, the best thing to do is to store it in a well ventilated shed, or stack it up off the ground on pallets, bearers or similar. Cover just the top of the stack to protect it from direct rain but still allow plenty of air to circulate around the wood.
It is a good idea to store enough wood to last a few days in a dry place, such as a verandah and regularly top this supply up as it is used. Wet wood will dry out quite quickly if protected from rain, provided it has enough ventilation.
The worst thing to do is to cover wet wood with a tarpaulin. This prevents air circulation and traps water in the pile or stack. If your wood is dry already and is not in contact with wet earth, covering it with a tarpaulin will keep the wood dry but you need to be be aware that you might also be creating a comfortable home for spiders, snakes and insects who can sometimes take exception to being disturbed.