Following a cold January, fire officials are reminding residents to clean their chimneys mid-way through winter to prevent fires.
The Durango Fire Protect District has responded to three chimney fires since Dec. 1, two in the last couple of weeks – partly a result of cold temperatures in January when residents used more wood or coal, according to a news release issued this week.
The department encourages residents to clean their stove, heater and chimney to prepare for the second half of winter.
“Whether you clean it yourself or have someone else do it, the investment in a good cleaning is well worth it in peace of mind alone,” the release says.
Ashes and coals stay hot for up to 72 hours after taking them out of a stove. Ashes should be deposited in a heavy-duty metal bucket to cool before being transferred to a second bucket and doused with water.
“This seems like common sense, but how many times do we throw out common sense for speed and shortcuts?” the news release says.
Finally, space heaters should be placed away from flammable materials, including curtains, wall hangings, and books and papers. They also should be out of reach of pets and small children.