bis-2 newbie damper plugged?

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New Member
Feb 9, 2024
Quebec, Canada
Newbie to fireplaces. Got a BIS-2 worked fine, then started smoking like crazy. Thought it was the wood, but now thinking that the damper is plugged shut with ash. Find the manual online but not too good for newbies.

Where is the damper located, same area as where the handle is on the left?
How do I remove the ashes, I used a shovel but the book mentions an ash box.
Is the grill under the doors supposed to open?

Thanks for help on the basics