Fire Safety in The Winter Months

Many people kindle a fire in their fireplace through the winter to enjoy a warm, glowing flame. If you’re among them, it will be essential for you to follow fire safety best practices to keep your family safe. Every week in winter a fire will claim eight lives in Canada. Even if you don’t keep a live fire, there are other causes of winter home fires. To keep yourself and your family safe, be on the lookout for the causes of winter fires and know how to reduce your risk.

The Causes of Winter Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the heating appliances we use in the winter months are the second leading cause of home fires. The major causes of house fires during the winter include:

  • Cooking accidents
  • Fireplaces and wood-burning appliances
  • Other heating equipment, especially space heaters
  • Candles left unattended
  • Holiday decorations, especially lights
  • Portable generators.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Fire

The Canada Safety Council suggests several ways to reduce the risks of the different heating methods you might be using.

Wood-Burning Fires

It’s important to add the right fuel to your wood-burning fire to keep control of it. The Canada Safety Council suggests:

  • Do not overload your furnace or fireplace with too much wood, doing so may cause creosote or tar build-up which is a fire hazard
  • Only use wood in a wood fire, not paper or gasoline, as they create fireballs or too much fire
  • Always keep your fireplace damper open until after the fire is burnt out and the ashes are cool
  • Keep a screen in front of the fireplace or stove
  • Only use dry wood and mix fast-burning wood with slow-burning wood
  • Do not leave children or pets alone with the fire.

Space Heaters

  • Check the heater’s electrical cord before use, and don’t use it if it’s frayed
  • Keep a meter of unoccupied space around the space heater
  • Do not try to dry clothing on a space heater because once dry the clothing may catch fire
  • Do not leave children or pets alone with the heater
  • Do not run an extension cord for the heater beneath a rug.

Stoves and Kitchen Appliances

  • Have an ABC fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen at all times
  • Read the instructions so you know how to use the extinguisher in case of a fire
  • Don’t attempt to put out grease fires with water. Instead, cover the grease fire with a pan lid when available. Baking soda will also put out small grease fires.


They aren’t exactly a heating source, but many people use candles in the winter to get the atmosphere only a real flame can create. There are a few ways to keep safe with candles:

  • Only use candles on level surfaces
  • Don’t leave children and pets unattended near lit candles
  • Have a candle extinguisher or water nearby
  • Extinguish candles if you start to get drowsy.

Fuel for Wood Burning Fires

Van Beek’s Garden Supplies delivers pre-dried and split wood right to your doorway, so you don’t have to resort to using unsafe fuel sources. Call us for convenient delivery right to your home!