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Chimney Safety

picture of a house with fire coming out of chimney

It’s that time of year again.  This time of year, the temperature starts to drop, and we build a fire in the fireplace or fire up the woodstove and we at Sheridan Fire start responding to chimney fires.

The three leading factors contributing to these fires are failure to clean the chimney, combustibles too close to the heat source, and faulty installations.

Chimney fire can cause a lot of damage, but they are also very preventable.  Taking the following steps can reduce your risk of having a chimney fire:

  • Clean chimneys or have them cleaned by a qualified professional at least once a year.  The Sheridan Fire District has brushes for cleaning chimneys that we would be happy to loan you if you if you choose to do it yourself.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood.  It creates less buildup in the chimney.
  • Start the fire with newspaper, kindling, or fire starters.  Never use any kind of flammable liquid to start a fire.
  • Have a sturdy metal screen or tempered glass on a fireplace to keep sparks from escaping.
  • Dispose of coals and ash only after they are cool, which can be as long as 3-5 days.
  • Never place used coals or ash in a paper or plastic container.


With a little work now, your woodstove can safely keep your home warm through the winter.