Helpful Information  

A spark arrester also known as a cap will keep out rain. Additionally it will also keep out birds, squirrels, other critters, as well as debris.

Any kind of blockage in the flue can choke a fire, causing smoke and dangerous carbon monoxide fumes to spill back into the room.
A cap will also keep rainwater from coming down an open flue and mixing with the soot and creosote to form a highly corrosive acid that is destructive to the mortar. It can also cause the damper to rust.

Here are some links to more important information:

How to Select Firewood

100 Reasons Your Fireplace Doesn't Work

Cleaner wood burning



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