Residents urged to be cautious around storing wood next to log burners

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning residents about the dangers storing and drying wood next to burners following two recent incidents.

In the first of those two incidents, crews from Burton and Lichfield attended a property off Princess Way, Burton, at around 1.50pm on 10 December 2021 following reports of a wood burner on fire.

Two breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet was used to extinguish the fire.

All persons were accounted for and thankfully no one was injured.

On 25 December 2021, at around 4.05pm, a crew from Lichfield attended a property on Beacon Street, Lichfield.

On arrival, they found a log burner on fire.

It is believed the fire was caused accidentally as a result of a spark from damp logs placed near the log burner.

The logs were moved out of the property and no one sustained any injuries.

Simon England, Prevent Delivery Lead at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “If you are burning wood, make sure that it is completely dried. Don’t burn unseasoned, wet, soft or tanalised wood as they leave greater tar deposits which increases the chimney fire hazard.

"Please ensure combustibles remain stored safely including seasoned logs and avoid storing these next to burners and open fires due to the radiated heat increasing the likelihood of them catching fire  

“We attend numerous chimney fires every year. By having regular inspections and cleaning, these fires can be prevented.”

Here are our top tips for minimising the risk of a chimney fire:

We strongly recommend that the chimney is cleaned regularly and in line with the below guidelines.

  • Wood - Quarterly when in use
  • Smokeless fuels - at least once a year
  • Bitumous Coal - at least twice a year
  • Oil - at least twice a year
  • Gas - at least twice a year
  • Biomass - at least once a year

 

  • The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after any prolonged period of shut-down.
  • Always leave matches and lighters out of reach of children- consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes to reduce the risk.
  • Remember a blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning from gas or solid wood fires.
  • Always ensure good quality fuel is used- more information about how to buy the correct fuel can be found on the HETAS website.
  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers. Make sure you store all fuel away from an open fire or stove. Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed. All alarms should be regularly tested.
  • Heat monitors/alarms for wood burners/flue temperatures are recommended as early warning systems. The aim is to burn at the correct temperature and reduce risks associated with hot gases or tars, so being aware and vigilant is important.

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