Preparing your chimney for fire season

ISHPEMING — Now that the weather is getting colder, many people will start to use fireplaces and wood-burning heaters in their homes and hunting camps. If you haven’t used your fireplace since last winter, fire experts say it’s a good idea to take some safety precautions before putting it to use.

Chimneys should be inspected by a professional once a year.  It’s important to make sure there’s no debris, such as leaves or birds nests, clogging your chimney.

That could cause harmful gases or even sparks to come back into the house.

“A chimney fire can do a lot of damage to the chimney flue,” Ishpeming Fire Chief Ed Anderson said. “While you don’t think it might do some damage, you might have a small chimney fire (and) those temperatures ranges can get up to 2,000 degrees. They can possibly crack your chimney. You might have a chimney fire and it goes out and ‘All’s okay’ you might think, you don’t clean your chimney as well (and) you have another chimney fire and some of the gases and some of the heat can escape and get back into your house and potentially catch some of the wood on fire.”

Chief Anderson said the fire department has seen an increase in chimney fires.

“(Chimney fires) kind of died out for a while, but it seems like people now are going back to the wood (stoves),” he said. “A lot of people aren’t familiar how to burn wood. They should burn seasoned firewood at least dried for one season. You should never burn trash in your wood stove or fireplace, cardboard too–the fire just gets too hot and they’re not made for that.”

If you do experience a chimney fire, the first thing to do is get everyone out of the house and immediately call 911.

More information on chimney fire safety can be found here: