Get your chimney swept before putting a match to the grate, a fire officer has warned.
Suffolk fire brigade was called to three chimney fires on Sunday afternoon alone as the first cold weather of the year struck.
Brigade group commander Mark Labdon said the problem was largely down to people burning damp, unseasoned wood and not getting chimneys swept often enough.
“Wet logs don’t burn properly and you get a lot of carbon and creosote build ups in the chimney,” he said. “It’s the tar and creosote in the chimney stack that ignites.
“People also burn rubbish; lot’s of plastic with a high carbon content and you get deposits inside the chimney.”
He said wood needs to be seasoned for at least two or three months, to reduce its moisture content, and a chimney regularly used for log fires should be swept two or three times a season.
“Another problem is people get a wood burner fitted and don’t get the chimney properly lined so you get heat transfer into the roof and thatch,” he warned.
Log burners fitted unqualified people also present the risk of ‘silent killer’ carbon monoxide poisoning because they do not draw in enough air to burn cleanly.