Preventing fires this holiday season
Chimney fires most common this time of year
With this week's chilly temperatures, you might be tempted to get the fireplace going. But, it's best to be extra cautious this time of year.
In recent weeks, the Grand Junction Fire Department has responded to a number of chimney fires, which officials say is the most common cause of house fires this time of year.
Cindie Vaughn of Fireplace West says you should clean your chimney at least once a year, more frequently if you use it for a primary heat source.
"A lot of people want to have a real long burn, so they shut all the air down on their stove. What that does is create a huge creosote buildup because your air to fuel ratio isn't correct. You need to give your wood some air so that it will burn correctly," Vaughn said.
She demonstrated a thermometer that attaches to the chimney. It shows the correct burning temperature.s
"This is a magnet that goes right on your pipe. It tells you if you are not burning your fireplace hot enough or if you're burning it too hot and it give you the perfect burn zone. And it just goes right on your pipe, about two, two and a half feet up from the discharge."
Vaughn says you should also never use lighter fluid or other similar chemicals to help light your fireplace. This can cause a buildup and lead to chimney fires.
But it's not just chimney fires that cause problems, as Mike Page from he GDFD explains.
"If you're using a portable heater in your bedroom at night, once you get snuggled into those covers, it's worth turning that portable heater off for the rest of the night."
And it's especially important to be vigilant during the holidays.
"It's wintertime and it's also holiday season and we're adding a lot of combustibles to our house. So, we have to be careful about that, getting that Christmas tree too close to candles, getting those presents too close to the wood stove. So, we have to be careful any time we put something that would burn close to something hot enough to cause it to burn," said Page.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy a little extra warmth all while keeping things safe.
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