Every year you read or hear stories about yet another fire that started in a fireplace. Sometimes the fire was in the living room, others were on the roof and still others may have actually started a tree fire.
The holidays may bring out the best in a lot of us, but sometimes in all the excitement, some people simply lose sight of safety. If you have family members who fall in this category it may be uncomfortable to tell them your concerns but the alternative is much worse.
This year, when you come in after your reveling or if you simply decide to gather around the fireplace for a cozy time with family, think before you act. Fireplaces are a great addition to a home, but only if you use them safely.
Using Dry Wood
Fireplace owners know that the wood used should be on the dry side, but keep in mind that wood with some moisture in it is beneficial. About 20% of dry wood still holds moisture and that moisture helps to slow down the time it takes for the wood to burn. This reduces the embers that can fly either out of your fireplace (if you don’t use the screen) or up your chimney where they belong.
Don't Burn Your Beautiful Wrapping Paper
If you are opening presents, don't be tempted to take the wrapping paper and stuff it in the fireplace with the burning logs. Sure, it burns, but it burns quickly, is quite light and the embers really fly. Some fly right up the chimney and onto your roof or your landscaping! This is dangerous and frankly, a giant Santa in flames is not a good look for a Christmas decoration. The other reason not to burn wrapping paper is because it is so pretty. The prettiest paper has finishes and ink that could very well be toxic at high temperatures. Don’t burn rolled newspapers, charcoal, garbage or plastic in your fireplace and never use an accelerant. If you have trouble starting the fire, you can use crumpled newspaper on the grate and then put the logs on top of it.