A local firewood business plans to use a new Rochester retail site to heat things up for the insidious tree pest, the emerald ash borer.
Procut Firewood, which has been operating in the area for 25 years, launched its first Rochester sales spot last week at 2660 N. Broadway, next to Space Concepts. And soon, Procut owner Marv Sawyer plans to add his wood kiln to the site.
Procut uses the wood kiln, which Sawyer says has been certified by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to sterilize firewood. That's significant now that the emerald ash borer has been found in local trees. To keep the tree-killing pest under control, the state has set up a restrictive quarantine to keep any possibly tainted firewood from leaving the county.
The only exception is wood that has been sterilized in a kiln, like Procut's. Basically, the kiln kills the borers, while also drying the wood for better burning in fireplaces, wood stoves or campsites, Sawyer said.
"The best thing about this is that we can utilize these trees that city and tree services are taking down. Within 24 hours, we can turn these trees into firewood that's good, safe and can be used anywhere," he said.
The city of Rochester or tree-cutting services bring the wood of any type, including ash, for Procut to process.
Procut now is selling firewood for pickup or for delivery by its two trucks on North Broadway. They are awaiting a natural gas hookup to soon be installed before bringing in the kiln.
Mike Haley, of Braasch Commercial Real Estate, handled the deal for Sawyer to acquire the lot space from Keith Witter, of Space Concepts.