News & Media

Cooler conditions prompt chimney warning

CFA is urging residents to keep themselves fire safe as the cooler weather kicks in by checking and maintaining their fireplaces, chimneys, fireboxes and flues.

Each year CFA sees an increase in the number of chimney fires from both fireplaces and solid wood heaters. 

CFA South East Region Assistant Chief Officer Trevor Owen said over time there could be a build-up of creosote, a black tar-like residue, which was highly flammable and could clog up chimneys.

“Creosote is not only caused by general use, but it can also build up quicker if you are using incorrect fuels, such as green wood or treated timbers,” he said.

To reduce the risk of fire starting from your fireplace or solid wood heater you should:

  • Use a torch to check for creosote build-up or obstructions
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned annually
  • Only burn dry, clean wood
  • Don’t leave your fire to burn after you have gone to bed or left the house

Mr Owen said residents should also have gas heaters inspected and serviced to ensure the safety of loved ones.

“Every household should consider their fire safety practices and examine the potential risks around their home,” he said.

“Cooler weather conditions and the winter months are one of the riskiest times of the year for fires in the home and sadly, most of these fires can be prevented.

“Chimney fires can quickly turn into house fires so the few minutes spent now could be one of the most important fire safety actions you take this winter.”

Fireplaces can also be a fire hazard if fuels are allowed to fall out of the fireplace.  A secure guard or fireproof screen should be used at all times.

If drying clothes please ensure they are positioned at least one metre away from the heat source and constantly monitored to reduce the chance of them igniting. 

“One of the nicest things about winter is curling up in front of a warm fire, and with these small tips we can ensure you do this safely,” Mr Owen said.

Last Updated: 13 April 2016