Forest fires out West cause lumber prices to skyrocket here in Georgia

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The cost of building a new home has spiked and it’s all because of forest fires.

Last year’s wildfires out West destroyed millions of acres of trees that were supposed to become 2-by-4s.

Now, there has been a huge increase in the price of lumber.

Gwinnett County lumber yard owner Michael Johnsa told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen when he saw what was happening, he knew it would turn the lumber industry upside down.

“Most of the people who sell that building supply material have had a hard time getting it because of that. When you see something like that, it does strike you as a problem,” Johnsa said.

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Last year’s wildfires out West burned through millions of acres of trees that were supposed to end up in the form of lumber for new homes.

Prices have skyrocketed. Even a do-it-yourselfer like Ray Phillips told Petersen that wood costs more everywhere.

“Most of the retail stores like Home Depot and Lowes,” Phillips said.

The pandemic also had a hand in this by forcing the sawmills to shut down. While many are back in business, socially distanced operations can’t cut nearly as much lumber.

And while the forests burned, demand for new homes hasn’t missed a beat.

“Most people in this industry thought the housing market would slow down as far as building, but it hasn’t,” Johnsa said.

Johnsa told Petersen that the higher prices could stay in place for a long time.