The fire service in Essex is urging residents with chimneys to be extra careful.
Since the start of the new year crews have been called out to 23 blazes in the county with five of those happening in the last week.
Fire safety advice on chimneys below;
Have your chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood. (Always use a competent chimney sweep who is able to provide you with a certificate upon completion of their work.)
Do not stack fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you go to bed.
Use a fire or spark guard.
Do not place objects on or over the mantle-piece which may cause you to stand too close to the fire to reach or use them.
Inspect your chimney regularly – particularly in the roof space – to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.
Avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly. Suitable seasoned timber must be used in all solid fuel stoves.
Buy only suitable fuels. Using the wrong type of fuel on a liner will reduce the life of the liner considerably due to increased corrosion.
It is also vital that you have working smoke alarms fitted in your home.
Smoke alarms help save lives by giving you earlier warning of a fire and extra time to get out safely. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service fit smoke alarms completely FREE of charge. Call us on: 0300 303 0088 or book online: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/book
If a chimney fire does happen:
Leave the room, close the door and alert other people in the house
Get out of the house, stay out and call 999.