Chimney fires don’t seem like a big worry until you’ve witnessed one. When you see the flames shooting out the top of a chimney and sparks landing on a roof accompanied by the roar of what sounds like a freight train, you realize just how big these fires are and how helpless you are to stop their destruction. Creosote is an extremely flammable by-product of wood burning. Over time, creosote can form as a hard crust on the inside of your chimney or wood stove exhaust pipe and ignite, causing a large fire that can spread rapidly. To reduce your risk of a chimney fire, (1) Inspect and clean your chimney annually, or hire a professional to do it. (2) Burn only completely dry wood. Burning moist wood leads to faster creosote build up. (3) Burn the hardest wood you can find (i.e. oak, maple rather than pine, birch).