Chimney Fire Safety
Keep the Fire You Want from Starting One You Don't
Chimney fires don't have to happen. Here are some ways to avoid them:
- Have your chimney inspected annually by a qualified professional and cleaned when necessary.
- Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations).
- Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees; these can spark a chimney fire.
- Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, so you can adjust burning practices as needed.
- Inspect and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis, where applicable
What to Do if You Have a Chimney Fire.
If you realize a chimney fire is occurring, follow these steps:
- Get everyone out of the house, including yourself.
- Call the fire department.
If you can do so without risk to yourself, these additional steps may help save your home. Remember, however, that homes are replaceable, lives are not:
- Put a chimney fire extinguisher into the fireplace or wood stove.
- Close the glass doors on the fireplace.
- Close the inlets on the wood stove.
- Use a garden hose to spray down the roof (not the chimney) so the fire won't spread to the rest of the structure.
For more chimney safety tips, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America.