You must open the flue/vent before starting fire. If smoke comes out of fireplace into the home, put the fire out immediately. Only use hard woods such as oak & walnut. Soft wood from trees like cypress, pines, or firs burns very rapidly, creates a great deal of smoke, rapidly coats your chimney with soot and cause a coating in the flue which can cause fires. When removing coals from fireplace, coals should be cold. NEVER dump hot or warm coals outside or in container that is not fire/heat resistant.