There are four main reasons for chimney fires happening
1. INFREQUENT SWEEPING AND CLEANING
As fires burn, they generate smoke. As the smoke rises up the chimney, it comes into contact with the relatively cooler interior of the chimney (the flue). The resulting condensed smoke is called creosote. Creosote is a sticky, highly flammable substance that builds up on the flue.
The danger of a chimney fire comes from the extremely high temperatures generated, which can severely damage the mortar in the chimney and can ignite nearby burnable surfaces.
Typically, chimney fires that spread to the rest of the house do so very quickly and consume the entire house before being brought under control. The high temperatures cause them to spread extremely fast.
2. BURNING UNSEASONED / WET WOOD
Make sure all wood burnt has a moisture content below 20 per cent, by buying seasoned wood from reputable suppliers
3. IMPROPER APPLIANCE SIZING
Choose the correct size appliance for your room. One which is too large will never burn all of the fuel contained in the wood. This unburned fuel will pass up the chimney as smoke and condense as extremely flammable creosote.
4. OVERNIGHT SLUMBERING OF STOVES
If you have a wood burner, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel loading and air flow.
•Don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
•Don’t burn paper or rubbish.
•Do not stack logs at sides of Woodburning Stoves
•Do not overload the fire with fuel
•Always use a Fire Guard on an Open Fire
•NEVER LEAVE AN OPEN FIRE UNATTENDED
•Go into the loft occasionally, when the fire is alight, to check for smoke from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints. DO NOT USE IF YOU SEE OR SMELL SMOKE
IF A CHIMNEY FIRE HAPPENS:
•If you have a stove then shut all air vents and flue dampers to reduce Oxygen Supply (ONLY IF SAFE TO DO SO)
•Leave the room, close the door and alert other people in the house
•Get out of the house, call 999 and ask for the FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
•Stay out until the fire and rescue service arrive
• Do not pour water on the fire
•Do not pour salt on the fire – this can create chlorine gas which is damaging to the chimney and toxic if it gets into the room.