After an investigation made by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue service, it has been revealed that fires in thatched houses have been caused by a common factor - excessive heat being transferred from the chimney stack to the thatch. In the majority of these properties, the main source of heating the home has been a wood burning stove.
Paul Francis, Community Safety Officer and head of the campaign to encourage extra precautions in thatched buildings, suggested that where modern stoves are designed to burn at a greater temperature to create a more efficient "clean burn", the old, thin and often ill-maintained chimney stacks cannot hold out against the heat transfer they create.
It is essential that chimney stacks, flues and spark arrestors are installed and fully maintained by professional installers and regularly swept by a qualified chimney sweep. Ideally, the stack should be swept at least twice a year but more sweeps may be required depending on the fuels being burnt. Often coal or oil burning systems will not need as many as a wood burning system.
For more information, contact your local fire safety department.