How to store firewood

Modern wood burners need dry wood to burn efficiently. Even slightly damp wood can burn inefficiently, wasting fuel and giving off less heat. Making sure you have plenty of dry wood at the beginning of winter is key to getting good heat from your burner.

Buy your wood in summer from a Good Wood supplier, and stack and cover so it is dry and ready to burn when you need it. Check out the Burn Bright Guide to storing Firewood. (3.8MB PDF)

How to stack your wood

IMG 4884

  • Stack firewood loosely enough so that air can blow through it.
  • Secure your stack, as wood pieces will shrink and shift as they dry.
  • Split your wood – smaller pieces dry faster.
  • Soft woods like Pine, Fir and Macrocarpa normally take 6 – 12 months to dry.
  • Hard woods like Gum and Manuka can take 18+ months to dry.
  • Firewood needs to have less than 25% moisture content to burn efficiently.

How to keep your wood pile dry



  • Use a tarpaulin, corrugated iron, or any kind of water proof cover over the top of the wood, but make sure it is tied down so it doesn't blow off.
  • Allow air flow to the sides, so that moisture can escape.
  • Keep the wood off the ground using bricks, wood slats or pallets to prevent damp seeping up, and allow air flow under the wood.

How to build a shed

well stacked super shed

You can build a shed without a Building Consent if it is:

  • Less than 10m2 in floor area.
  • One storey high – floor max 1 metre above ground, max height of shed 3.5 metres above floor level.
  • Not positioned closer than the sheds own height to a boundary or any residential building.

If you're unsure, contact Council's Building Control Officer on 03 265 6983 or email

Depending on the type and scale of your woodshed, you should check the permitted activities under the Nelson Resource Management Plan. You can find answers to most Frequently Asked Questions about building in a residential zone  here (503KB PDF) or by calling the Duty Planner on 03 546 0200.

For further information about firewood or wood burners contact Environmental Programmes Adviser Richard Popenhagen on 03 546 0251.