BEND, OR -- It doesn't take much to start a house fire, and when it's cold outside, maintenance can be more difficult, but Battalion Chief for Bend Fire, Dave Howe, says it's a must. "When it's really cold, people use their heating systems a lot more, and that can stress the heating system, like a furnace or whatever. And, when you use a wood stove, when you use a lot of wood, you can have flue fires, because the creosote builds up in the chimney, and then it can ignite."
He says house fires can be prevented by following some easy steps, "The wood should be really dry. It should not be wet. If you use wet wood, then it creates more creosote in the chimney, makes it much more easy to ignite. Also, it's much smokier, and it's more polluting. So, if you burn wood, don't burn too much and get too hot of a fire. Burn a nice, even fire and use dry wood. That's really important." Also, he says, "Don't dry out your wood on top of your wood stove. Bad idea." He adds, "If you do use wood for fuel, get the chimney inspected at least once a year, I'd say twice a year is even better. Make sure, not only, that the creosote is cleaned out, but also that the chimney walls, in the inside, are intact. A flue fire can actually make the metal wall, inner wall, separate. Fire in the flue, can actually spread into the attic, and then you'll have an attic fire. Once you've got an attic fire, you're going to have a house fire."