prevention tips for chimney fires

prevention tips for chimney fires

A Chimney Fire … Not in my house!!


Annually, the Hudson Fire Department responds to approximately 5 chimney fires in our town as well as mutual aid interventions in neighboring towns. In recent years, the place origin of two major fires in Hudson was the chimney. Each year in Quebec, approximately 235 fires are caused by poor installation or inadequate use of wood-burning appliances.

Since we are entering the colder months of the year and for safety reasons, before you can appreciate the warmth of your wood heating installation, here are some safety tips that comes from the Quebec Ministry of Public Security (MSP)


New or updated installation

If you are about to acquire or update a wood heating installation, we strongly recommend that you verify that the seal of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA, ACNOR) or the Protection Agency of the United States environment (US / EPA) appears on the device you want to acquire. These certified devices reduce smoke pollution and ash emissions, both inside and outside the home.

It is also strongly recommended that you have your fireplace or wood stove and the chimney installed by a professional.


Chimney sweeping mandatory for installation been use

Section 7 of municipal by-law No. 510, concerning fire prevention, requires that a complete sweeping of the chimney be carried out annually by a certified professional chimney sweeper.


A professional chimney sweeper should have the knowledge and expertise to spot problems with installations. They should be able to advise you on the use and maintenance of each appliance, as well as have the necessary equipment, tools and protective clothing to perform a safe and efficient sweeping.


Why is sweeping your chimney important?

Chimney sweeping helps prevent fires. It also allows:

  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by allowing better evacuation of smoke and toxic or noxious gases;
  • Eliminate soot and flammable deposits (creosote) that have accumulated in the chimney;
  • Optimize the efficiency of the heater and allow fuel savings;
  • The professional chimney sweeper to detect the presence of breaks and/or deterioration of the heating system and its components.


A good and complete job

In order to carry out the sweeping efficiently, the professional must complete the work both inside and outside of the building. Among other things, he will perform the following tasks:

  • Brush the chimney vigorously with a brush of suitable size;
  • Check the condition of the entire heating system, clean each of its components, inspect all parts and notify you of any breaks or anomalies;
  • Check the clearance distances around the device as well as its general installation;
  • Beware of partial sweeping that only involves passing a brush through the chimney flue.


For more information on chimney sweeping, please consult the capsule of the Quebec Ministry of Public Security:



How to use your wood heating installation

  • Enter only a few logs at a time. Keep them away from the fireplace or wood stove.
  • Use quality, dry wood. Green wood increases the formation of creosote.
  • Use small sized logs. They will burn cleaner, creating less creosote.
  • Burn a few logs at a time.
  • Bring enough fresh air into the combustion appliance so that the flames are brisk, promoting complete combustion and producing less smoke.


A clear area is essential

  • Clear the area around the fireplace or stove of any object that may obstruct passage.
  • Make sure the air is circulating freely.
  • Do not store flammable materials nearby, such as paper, gasoline, chemicals, paint, rags or cleaning products.


Hot ashes 

  • Dispose of hot ashes in a metal container with a raised bottom and a metal lid. The container must be placed outside on a non-combustible surface and more than one meter from any building for a period of at least 3 to 7 days.


Consult the MSP prevention capsule regarding hot ashes:


Be on the lookout

  • If the wall behind the wood stove becomes hot, have the chimney inspected by a professional.
  • In the event of a chimney fire:
    • Close the key;
    • Get out immediately;
    • Contact 9-1-1.


For further information on wood heating, consult the MSP website: