Lumberyard Fire

CVFD would like to thank all the Departments that came to our aid for the Cornwall lumberyard fire last night. Also a special thanks to the Cornwall Country Market for helping keep the firefighters fed and well hydrated throughout the incident. Fortunately No one was hurt in the blaze, and the fire is still under investigation.

Tips to prevent Chimney Fires

“More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.

Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility …Fire Stops With You!
Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

Safely Burn Fuels

Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Protect the Outside of Your Home

Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris.
Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.

Protect the Inside of Your Home

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
Extend all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.”

(Source: FEMA.gov * http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/fireplace.shtm)

Connecticut’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness

guideDownload here

Thanks to the member who’s idea it was to have this on the site.

Ashes: To Remove or Not to Remove.

Is it a good idea to remove ashes from the fireplace or wood stove every time you build a fire?

Wood burners know that the consistent by-product of having a wood fire is ash.  While the volume is going to be determined by the actual species of wood; softwoods weigh less and will have the potential to generate more ash.  In any case there will always be ash remaining in the combustion chamber after the wood fuel is burned.

There are many ways this ash can be put to good use. Did you know that it is not a good idea to remove the ash from the fireplace or wood stove every time you build a fire? Having a 1-inch layer of ash on the floor of the firebox during the regular heating season will make it easier to build and maintain a fire.  The hot coals tend to nestle into the ash and glow, adding more heat to the fuel and reflecting the heat back into the fire.

Of course, this, like almost everything else, should only be done in moderation.  For example; if the ash in your fireplace is so deep that it is coming in contact with the bottom of your grate, it can cause the grate to burn out prematurely.  It is the same concept mentioned earlier; the heat is reflected back to the fire, the grate just happens to be in the way and will suffer over time.  Additionally, if you have a wood stove with a large amount of ash it will reduce the volume of fuel that can be added to the firebox.

However, many long, narrow stoves that burn from the front to the back will benefit from the removal of the ash just inside the door.  That ash is completely spent.  You can then move the hot coals from the rear of the stove into the cavity you have created and the fresh fuel will ignite quickly and easily when the incoming combustion air rushes across them.  In either case, if the ashes are cleaned out, you will find that it is often more difficult to build a fire because you must heat up all of the brick in the firebox to saturation before the fire can really take off.

This also leads us to another benefit of that small layer of ash; it protects the floor of the firebox.  Usually the dirtiest part of the burn is the beginning stages of the fire.  This can be addressed with the top down burn method.  Getting the fire blazing as quickly as possible will reduce the amount of unspent fuel that can cling to the interior of the flue or exit the chimney.

At the end of the heating season, it is appropriate to remove the ashes from your fireplace and stove.  The ashes actually have the potential to draw moisture that can cause rusting of metal components.  The acidic nature of the ash combined with moisture can be very destructive to both the masonry and metal components whether you are using a masonry fireplace, factory-built fireplace or a wood stove.

– See more at: http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/to_remove_or_not_to_remove_ash.aspx#sthash.CorolSgn.dpuf

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