How to Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace

It’s important that you put out fires in your fireplace properly to avoid a hazard. Fortunately, two effective fire extinguishers, water and baking soda, are easy to find at home. Besides putting out the flames, you’ll also need to dispose of the hot ash left over from the fire. By removing the ash properly and making sure the fire is completely out, you can enjoy your fireplace responsibly.

EditSteps

EditSpraying with Water

  1. Fill a plastic spray bottle with water. Use a medium-size spray bottle as opposed to a cup or bucket to prevent splashing or excessive steam. Make sure there’s enough water inside the spray bottle to extinguish the fire and dampen the firewood.
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 1.jpg
  2. Spread the firewood and embers in the fireplace with a fire poker. You want the firewood and embers to be as open and flat as possible so they cool faster.[1]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 2.jpg
  3. Spray the fire with water using the spray bottle. Continue spraying until you’ve covered all of the firewood and embers. You want everything to be damp so the wood and embers cool down and go out.[2]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 3.jpg
  4. Make sure the fire is out before you leave it unattended. There should be no flames or red, burning embers. If the fire restarts or the firewood and embers are still glowing hot, spray more water onto the fire.
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 4.jpg

EditUsing Baking Soda

  1. Use a fire poker to spread around the burning wood and embers. Try to create a flat, even layer that you can easily pour the baking soda over.[3]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 5.jpg
  2. Scoop up some ash with a metal shovel and dump it over the firewood. Continue doing this until all of the flames are extinguished.[4]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 6.jpg
  3. Pour baking soda over the embers and firewood. Use any kind of store-bought baking soda; you just want enough of it to create a thin layer over the embers and wood. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which is also found in some fire extinguishers, and it will help smother the fire so it doesn’t restart.[5]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 7.jpg
    • Avoid using sand to smother a fire as it will be difficult to clean out of the fireplace.
  4. Watch the fireplace for a few minutes to make sure the fire doesn’t restart. If the fire restarts, repeat the ash and baking soda steps until the fire is completely out.
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 8.jpg

EditRemoving the Ashes

  1. Wait several hours after the fire’s been put out to remove the ashes. This will allow the ashes time to cool down. Never try to remove the ashes when the fire is still going.[6]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 9.jpg
    • To give the ashes more time to cool down, leave them in the fireplace overnight. It’s OK to leave the ashes unattended while you sleep, as long as the fire is completely out (there are no flames or red embers).[7]
  2. Use a metal shovel to scoop up the ashes. Don’t worry about getting out any leftover wood; you just want to clear out the gray and black ash on the bottom of the fireplace.[8]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 10.jpg
    • Remember that some embers may still be hot, even after the fire has been out for a while. Be careful when you’re removing the ashes.
  3. Dump the ash into a metal can. Never dump ash into a paper, cardboard, or plastic container. Hot embers in the ash could burn through the container and start a fire.[9]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 11.jpg
  4. Take the can filled with ash outside to a safe area. Keep the can away from combustible materials.[10]
    Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace Step 12.jpg

EditTips

  • Plan ahead by letting the fire die down a couple hours before you plan on leaving. Put out the fire early so you have time to make sure it’s completely out before you leave it unattended.

EditWarnings

  • If your fireplace fire gets too large or extends into your chimney and you’re unable to put it out, call the fire department immediately.
  • Don’t wait for a fire in a fireplace to go out on its own. Hot embers in a fireplace can burn for several days and could cause another fire to start if they’re left untended to.
  • Never attempt to put out a fire by fanning it with an object or your hands. Fanning a fire will make it grow.
  • Don’t attempt to put out a fire in a fireplace by smothering it with an object. If the object is flammable, it could catch on fire and create a dangerous amount of smoke.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Metal shovel
  • Metal can
  • Heat resistance gloves

EditSources and Citations

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