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Woodburning fireplaces can bring warmth and coziness to a cold winter day, but fire officials say you should use them safely

A family enjoys a fire in a fireplace
A family enjoys a fire in a fireplace

If you have a woodburning fireplace in your home, there are things you need to know to keep yourself and your family safe.

The Springfield Fire Department responded to two house fires in late November that were related to improper maintenance of a fireplace.
It's offering tips to try to prevent similar fires.

Fire officials say you should:

  • Make sure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire and keep it open until the embers have completely stopped burning.
  • Use dry and well-aged wood.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires.
  • Have the chimney checked annually by a professional.
  • Check for animal nests or other blockages.
  • Make sure the area around the fireplace is free of anything flammable.
  • Talk to children about the dangers of fires.
  • Make sure lighters and matches are out of reach.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.