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Ho, Ho, Holidays are Brighter with a Beautiful Fire

Ho, Ho, Holidays are Brighter with a Beautiful Fire

By Leroy Hite, founder and CEO, Cutting Edge Firewood
Photograph courtesy of Cutting Edge Firewood

The holidays are the most wonderful time to enjoy a golden, radiant fire and gather hearthside with family and friends. So this year, whether you are roasting chestnuts or keeping the chimney safe for Santa’s arrival, Cutting Edge Firewood CEO Leroy Hite offers the following tips.

What to Burn for a Glowing Fire

Avoid green wood for a cleaner chimney. Burning green, low-quality, or improperly prepared wood can have an unpleasant, even hazardous, effect. Fresh-cut wood is considered “green.” Since it hasn’t had time to age, it still has most of its sap (which is 95 to 99% water) and produces poor burn results.

Green wood also doesn’t produce much heat and creates a noxious, bitter smoke from the moisture and impurities. This damp smoke can lead to build-up of creosote, a dangerous and flammable sludge that collects inside chimneys and stovepipes. Accidental igniting of creosote is one of the leading causes of chimney fires.

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Use kiln-dried wood. Kiln-drying wood kills all mold, fungus, and pests. Seasoned firewood, or wood that has sat outside, often grows mold or fungus. When mold and fungus burn, it creates a lot of smoke, so inspect your firewood for both and don’t burn it if it isn’t clean.

Use all-natural fire starters and quality kindling. Don’t use crumpled newspaper or magazine pages to start a fire. While they can create a quick flame, they also create lots of smoke and ash. Plus, bits of burning paper can float away from your fire and spark flames outside of the hearth. Instead, seek fire starters with all-natural, kiln-dried components, such as a small piece of dried heart pine – it lights quickly, keeps kindling lit and smells nice.

Let your fire breathe. A good fire needs three things: heat, a fuel source, and oxygen. Logs stacked too tightly together reduce the oxygen flow and can smother flames or can cause wood to smolder, creating smoke instead of flame. Try stacking your wood in “log cabin” or “teepee” arrangements to allow for the best oxygen flow and a glowing fire.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy. You will likely never need it, but make sure you have an extinguisher in your house. Better safe than sorry.

Keep children, pets, and Christmas trees far away from the fireplace. This is common sense, but always close your firescreen once your fire is lit, and make sure your children and pets stay a safe distance from the hearth. Ensure your tree (live or artificial) is appropriately distanced from the fireplace.

Wishing you and your families happy holidays!

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