Increased chimney fire risk in Haliburton County; causes and consequences.
The Municipalities of Haliburton County have enjoyed an increase in community size in recent years and we welcome all the new-comers with open arms. But, those of us in the chimney service business, along with local Fire Departments have noticed a concerning uptick in chimney fire incidences. It is stressful and costly to all of us especially our Fire Services budgets. Chimney fires are preventable and all of us who heat with wood should feel very lucky we have this alternative resource, but at the same time have respect and follow the best advice of fire professionals, stove manufacturers and WETT certified chimney sweeps. If you operate a wood stove you need to read your appliance manual and operate your stove as described by the manufacturer. You also need to educate yourself about wood size and quality. Yes, the size of your wood is as important as species and moisture content. Next to those 3 things, how many pieces do you put into your fire box, in general to sustain the burn? If the answer is 2 or 3 pieces, this is not enough and contributes to an inefficient burn, thus potential for creosote formation in a very short time. 3 pieces of wood does not provide enough surface area for good combustion. If you do not want a lot of heat, then have optional, smaller wood sizes for those times of the season so you can use more, smaller pieces. In all cases, any creosote formation should be guarded against, your methods should be modified etc., up to and including more frequent chimney sweeps as suggested by your WETT certified chimney sweep. Unfortunately, we are only going to see more chimney fires happening if we do not act. Consider this winter by example; with prolonged milder temperatures the tendency will be for some to 'smolder' their wood stoves even more. Lets recognize this change and work together to mitigate the risk by preventing chimney fires.