How to Put Out a Fire in a Fireplace

As winter approaches, many look forward to the warmth and coziness of a crackling fire in the fireplace. However, knowing how to put out a fire in a fireplace safely is essential. Leaving a fire unattended or improperly extinguishing it can lead to dangerous consequences, such as chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and house fires.

In this article, we'll go over the step-by-step process of how to put out a fire in a fireplace, including the necessary equipment, safety precautions, common mistakes to avoid, and tips for preventing future fires.

Gathering the Necessary Equipment

Before you start the process of putting out a fire in your fireplace, it's essential to gather the necessary equipment. You'll need the following:

• A fireplace poker

 A fireplace poker is a long stick with a hook on the end. You use it to get the firewood higher, away from the flames, making it easier to extinguish the fire.

• A fireplace screen

The fireplace screen is a heavy-duty mesh cover in front of your fireplace. It protects you from potential sparks or embers flying out of the fire.

• An empty bucket

The bucket should be big enough to hold at least a few gallons of Water. You'll use this to put out the fire in your fireplace.

• A fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires – so you must have one on hand.

• A metal scoop

The metal scoop is a long, skinny tool with a handle. You use the metal scoop to move the firewood away from the flames and out of harm's way.

• A poker-type stick or a lint-free cloth

You'll use this to douse the fire in your fireplace with Water.

Extinguishing the Fire

There are several ways to extinguish a fire in a fireplace safely:

  1. Sprinkling Water on the Embers and Logs

One of the easiest ways to extinguish a fire is to sprinkle Water on the embers and logs. Using a watering can or a spray bottle, apply Water to the embers until fully saturated. Make sure to keep the nozzle at a safe distance from the fire to avoid steam burns.

  1. Smothering the Fire with a Fireplace Screen

Another way to extinguish a fire is to smother it with a fireplace screen. This method involves placing the net over the fire and leaving it in place until the fire goes out. A fireplace screen is a mesh screen that allows air to circulate, blocking sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace.

  1. Using a Fire Extinguisher

Another method of extinguishing a fire in a fireplace is a fire extinguisher. Use this method only if the other two fail to extinguish the fire.

  1. Dousing the Fire with Water

You'll need an empty bucket and nothing else when using the dousing method. Fill up your empty bucket and move it close to the fireplace to position it directly over the flames. Set your bucket down, quickly turn off your fireplace, and immediately douse it to remove any remaining pets.

  1. Using a Fire Poker or Stick

You can also use a fire poker or stick to douse the fire. If you have time, use your scoop to move the wood away from the flames before attempting to poke out the fire.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher should be a last resort for extinguishing a fire in a fireplace. If the fire is too large or out of control, or other methods have been unsuccessful, it's time to use a fire extinguisher. However, it's essential to remember that if you misuse a fire extinguisher, the fire may reignite, spreading the flames to other areas of your home. The best way to use a fire extinguisher is as a last resort.

1. Turn off the power

If you have hardwood floors or walls surrounding your fireplace, turn off the power before using an extinguisher. You don't want the sparks from an electrical fire harming your home or property!

2. Use Two Extinguishers

A standard fire extinguisher only contains 2-4 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). You should use two extinguishers if your fire is large and out of control or if you see flames.

3. Aim the Extinguisher at the Base of the Fire

It would help if you aimed your extinguisher at the base of the fire, not at the flames. Seeking at the bottom of a fire will help create a blanket effect, an essential part of putting out a fire. Also, make sure that you're focusing on one area only.

4. Spray for 30 Seconds Straight

Only spray for 30 seconds straight, reevaluating your approach and situation. Move away from where you're spraying to avoid getting burned or otherwise injured.

Dealing with Lingering Embers

Even after the fire is extinguished, there may be lingering embers that can reignite. Here are a few steps to make sure that all embers are fully extinguished:

  • Use a fireplace shovel to move the ashes around and look for still-burning embers carefully.
  • Sprinkle Water or sand on any hot spots or remaining embers to cool them down.
  • Wait for the ashes and embers to cool down completely before disposing of them.

Cleaning Up Afterward

After the fire is out and the ashes have cooled down, it's time to clean up the fireplace. Here are a few steps to take:

  • Use a fireplace shovel to scoop out the cooled ashes and put them in a metal container with a lid.
  • Dispose of the ashes in a metal trash can, never a paper or plastic bag, as they can quickly reignite.
  • Clean the fireplace tools and store them in a safe place.
  • Sweep the area around the fireplace and vacuum any remaining ashes.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Putting a fire in a fireplace can be dangerous if not done correctly. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Never use Water to put a fire in a fireplace if you don't have an empty bucket positioned right next to the fire. Misusing Water can lead to unwanted and potentially dangerous consequences.
  2. Never attempt to smother a fire in a fireplace with a blanket or pillow – you never know how hot the embers and ashes can be, and they could quickly spread blanket fibers into your home if they ignite.
  3. Never use an open flame, such as a candle or torch, to put out the fire – these flames could cause your ashes to reignite, spreading the flames even more.
  4. Never close off air vents when putting out fires in your fireplace. The only exception is if your fireplace is electric or gas-powered. In this situation, it's a good idea to turn off the power to your fireplace and ensure the embers are cool before you close off any air vents.


Putting out a fire in a fireplace is an essential safety skill for anyone who enjoys the warmth and comfort of a fire during the winter months. Following these step-by-step instructions and safety precautions, you can safely extinguish a fire in your fireplace and avoid dangerous consequences. Gather the necessary equipment, prepare the area, extinguish the fire using safe methods, deal with lingering embers, and clean up afterward. Avoid common mistakes, take preventative measures to ensure your safety, and enjoy your fireplace responsibly.


Can I use sand to extinguish a fire in my fireplace?

Yes, and can extinguish a fire in a fireplace. It's an excellent alternative to Water, especially if you're worried about steam burns or damage to the fireplace.

How often should I have my chimney inspected and cleaned?

It's recommended to have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year, preferably before the start of the heating season.

Can I use a fire extinguisher to extinguish a gas fire in my fireplace?

No, using a fire extinguisher on a gas fire can cause an explosion or damage the gas line. Instead, turn off the gas and call a professional to address the issue.

Can I dispose of the ashes in a paper or plastic bag?

No, never dispose of hot ashes in a paper or plastic bag, as they can quickly reignite. Use a metal container with a lid and dispose of the ashes in a trash can.


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