There is nothing better than relaxing in front of the fire with your family after a hard day, but practising firewood safety is imperative. It is important to take all the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe when it comes to wood burning. In the following article, we will highlight some important ways to ensure firewood safety while burning wood in your fireplace or log burner.

Think of this as a go-to resource that you can check back on to ensure you are regularly carrying out all of the firewood safety tips recommended when burning wood in a fireplace, wood burner, or wood burning stove.

 

Indoor environment and firewood safety

It is completely normal to want to have your stove/fire in a cosy environment close to your other comforts. It is important, however, to ensure that any flammable material or fabric is always at a sufficient distance from your fire. A minimum distance of 3ft should be considered to stay safe while staying warm.

Although it may seem obvious, avoid pulling your seats up close to the fire in addition to storing your firewood next to the wood burning stove or fireplace. A fire can quickly spread to your adjacent firewood if stored too closely to the fire. Kiln dried firewood (or seasoned wood) and kindling are made to ignite easily so just keep that in mind. Following our simple firewood safety tips ensures that you and your loved ones can keep safe.

Ash disposal

Make it a habit to dispose of ash using a metal container, suitable for storage and transport. You should also make sure to store this away from any flammable materials as ash can stay incredibly hot for a lengthy period.

Firstly though, you should give the ash adequate time to cool before disposing of it. After you have left it to cool down, always use an ash shovel or metal scoop to transfer the ash to your metal container, and make sure you shield the container from the wind to stop embers from being pushed into the air.

Incorrectly disposing of ash is dangerous and a fire risk — always use a metal container

Incorrectly disposing of ash is dangerous and a fire risk — always use a metal container

Carbon monoxide awareness

A potentially fatal silent hazard that exists in the home is that of CO (Carbon Monoxide). CO is an invisible and odourless gas which makes it exceedingly difficult to detect without the help of a dedicated CO alarm.

CO becomes a threat in situations where wood burning stoves have bad ventilation and where the gas makes its way back into the living area. This is not the only thing that can cause CO to be an issue though. Wood burning stoves that have not been fitted correctly, or maintained regularly can also result in a buildup of Carbon Monoxide in the living space.

It is essential to install correctly positioned CO alarms and test them regularly. You should also make sure that professionals fit your wood burning stoves and ventilation systems to remove the chances of leaking Carbon Monoxide.

Equipment safety

If you have owned a wood burner for some time, you have probably split your firewood before. We’ve previously written a guide on how to safely split firewood on our website blog that you should read if you haven’t already.

The equipment you use when preparing or using your firewood requires you to stick to a few rules to help ensure proper firewood safety practices:

  • Store your axe in a safe location that can be locked away. Make sure the environment is dry, most sheds or garages are adequate
  • Use an appropriate sheath for your axe, ideally leather
  • Maintain your axe, a sharp blade can increase the safety of splitting
  • Check over the handle and wood for cracks and damage regularly
Ensure you are using the correct and appropriate safety equipment when chopping wood

Ensure you are using the correct and appropriate safety equipment when chopping wood

Your wood burning stove is like any other piece of equipment in that it needs maintenance and checking regularly to keep it running safely, and optimally.

Examples of such maintenance can be found throughout this article such as correct ash disposal, and correct placement of CO alarms. It bears repeating that your stove should be respected and maintained in accordance with the advice and recommendations from the manufacturer.

Booking regular sweeps is also a great way to stop a build-up of creosote and reduce the risk of Carbon Monoxide buildup when regularly burning wood.

Protective gear

Another huge part of firewood safety is wearing the correct protective gear where appropriate. These can be situational based on what exactly you are doing, but it is good to have a go-to list for when you need it. Here are some suggestions for protective gear to keep you safe when using or preparing your firewood.

Invest in a high-quality pair of gloves to protect yourself from hot ash, and sharp pieces of wood

Invest in a high-quality pair of gloves to protect yourself from hot ash, and sharp pieces of wood

  • Boots - ideally steel toe cap for safe transport of heavy containers and wood
  • Gloves – wear gloves to protect from wood splinters when handling firewood. These also protect from the heat of ash when cleaning your stove
  • Masks - stop you inhaling dust from wood when preparing your logs
  • Safety glasses - protection from small pieces of wood and hot embers

Fire extinguishers

Despite following all our firewood safety tips, the fact is that accidents can still happen. This is why having a fire extinguisher close by is important, both in locations where you burn your wood, and where you store it too.

Never underestimate the potential of embers or heated material as dry wood can ignite incredibly easily and spread quickly too.

First aid

Being prepared for the worst when handling firewood is just as important as prevention. Make sure that you have a first aid kit handy as many accidents and injuries can take place before the wood even makes it into your stove.

Again, accidents do happen when transporting, chopping, and disposing of your own firewood and ash. There are many dangerous parts of the process, and being able to treat small wounds safely has a small financial cost and a huge benefit to you and your family.

Legal compliance

You should also be mindful of the law when it comes to collecting, transporting, and burning your choice of firewood. Although it may not initially cross your mind, this is a huge part of firewood safety. This is in part because burning treated or burning wet wood (also called green wood) can have on the environment, and your health.

Burning the wrong type of wood can have a negative impact on the health of everyone around you, and you could potentially be breaking the law due to the amount of PM2.5 emissions generated from the process.

Here are some main points to follow to help you follow the law when burning your firewood:

  • Use a ClearSkies-certified eco stove
  • Have your stove fitted professionally
  • Only burn wood with a low moisture content (below 20%)
  • Do not burn wet wood
  • Use untreated virgin timber
  • Be mindful of any local regulations
  • Regular maintenance of your equipment
  • Keep your firewood supply away from combustible materials, such as wood

Safe storage

Storing your firewood correctly is not just beneficial to firewood safety practices, it is for convenience and ensuring that your wood stays dry while being away from the damp and pests.

Invest in a wood store

Invest in a wood store

To store firewood outside against a wall is a fantastic option. This is due to it being sheltered from the elements and is easily accessible when you need wood fuel. Stack firewood carefully though, so it does not become a safety hazard and always remove firewood from the top of the stack.

Owning a wood store doesn’t have to cost a fortune, you can even make your own wood store by following the recent guide that we published in our blog.

Supervised burning

Never leave your fire unattended. Always make sure that someone is in front of the fire during burning, and after until the fire and ash is completely extinguished.

Even the most reliable wood burning stoves that abide by all firewood safety standards should still be under constant supervision due to the unpredictable nature of fires and burning. Embers or excess heat can cause a blaze in adjacent furniture or fabrics left too close by. It is better to be safe than sorry so always make sure there is a set of eyes on your fireplace or wood stove.

Ventilation

This ties in with the previously mentioned Carbon Monoxide alarms that we recommend fitting. Having correct ventilation for your fireplace or wood stove is not just optional, it is essential.

You will want to make sure that your wood burning has adequate space to eject the harmful smoke and gases that come as a byproduct of wood burning. It does not stop there though, you will want regular maintenance and sweeping to reduce creosote buildup. This is because creosote buildup is responsible for inhibiting correct airflow and can even ignite and be a fire hazard if there is a long-term buildup.

Contact us

For premium, kiln-dried firewood with a moisture content that is always below 20%, stick with Cozilogs! All our firewood is perfect for both heating and cooking and is free from harmful chemicals, all while being sourced sustainably right here in the UK. We prioritise sustainability in every aspect of our business and are proud to offer such products to our customers.

Be sure to follow us on social media and drop us a line if you have any questions relating to firewood or any subject mentioned in the above article. Alternatively, call us at (01905) 954 736.