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Wood Burns Up, Gas Takes over in Many Home Fireplaces

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FAYETTEVILLE — Now that the weather has turned a little colder, many of us will start lighting up fireplaces. But fewer people are bringing in wood logs for a cozy fire.

Dave Horton has been selling firewood for 11 years, but a couple of mild winters and wood left over from Hurricane Fran has sizzled his business.

"As far as the wood business, if we didn't have something else going on, we'd be hurting, really hurting," said Horton.

Another damper, wood logs are being replaced with gas logs. People like Char Miller have converted their wood burning fireplaces to gas. She says it is less messy, and you do not have to worry about cutting or buying wood.

"It's just the whole hassle of building a fire, waiting for it to heat up and that sort of thing," explained Miller.

There is a down side to gas logs. They do not smell like a traditional fire, and they do not crackle.

But fireplace store owner Margaret Jamnick says her customers tend to look for convenience. She says 75 percent of her 21-year-old business is now in gas logs.

"Just to walk to the fireplace at 6:30 at night and have an instant fire makes up for the noise and smell of the wood fireplace," said Jamnick.

That may be true, but woodcutters like Dave Horton are holding out for the traditionalists.

There are different kinds of gas logs. If you are considering them for your fireplace, make sure you specify whether you are buying them for aesthetics or to put out heat.