With more winter weather right around the corner, Cheyenne Fire Rescue is reminding all users of wood burning appliances to have them inspected by a qualified technician.

Prevention Chief Byron Mathews says heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in the nation, and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths.

"More than 53 percent of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to things that can easily burn or not inspected annually," said Mathews.

If you use a wood burning stove for heating, Cheyenne Fire Rescue offers these safety tips:

  • Wood stoves should be listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • In wood stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Not only is it cleaner for the environment, it also creates less buildup in the chimney.
  • In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Start the fire with newspaper, kindling or fire starters. Never use a flammable liquid, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline, to start a fire. They produce invisible vapors that can easily catch fire.
  • Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the fire.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered, metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from the home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can.
  • Chimneys and vents need to be cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.

For more information about wood burning stove safety, contact Cheyenne Fire Rescue at (307) 637-6311.


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