By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When a tree falls, you might cut it up yourself or hire someone to do it. In the rush to clean up, you may not worry about what size pieces the wood is cut into as long as it’s small enough to be carried away. But if you want to keep some wood – and recent power outages are a reminder that it’s smart to have wood for warmth in an emergency – measure your fireplace first.

Each log should be a few inches shorter than your firebox to fit and make building and stoking a fire easy. You’ll maximize every branch and log by cutting it to size the first time, (it’s a pain in the neck to try to chop 2 inches off of every log later on). And it’s difficult and even dangerous to use oversized logs that could overhang and risk dropping hot embers beyond your hearth.

So, while you want to clear a fallen tree fast, take a second to measure your fireplace or stove – or use a log that you know fits as a guide. That way, the pile of wood you stack and dry will be much handier to use when you need it.