From the Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Protection District:
“As the weather cools in the upper foothills many homeowners turn toward space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces as a main source of heat; while convenient and cost effective, it is imperative that homeowners are home fire safe and aware.
“According to the United States Fire administration, home heating is the second leading cause of home fires, second only to electrical failure or malfunction.
“30% of home heating fires occur between the peak hours of 5:00 to 9:00 pm.
“Of those fires, 84% percent were confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners. While 29% of the non-confined home heating fires (fires that spread past the object of origin) happened because the heat source, like a space heater or fire place, was too close to things that can burn.
“Here are a few safety tips to keep your home safe from fire this winter:
–Always plug appliances directly into wall outlet; never use an extension cord.
–Do not overload power strips.
–Do not overload extension cords.
–Replace worn, old, or damaged extension cords.
–Keep lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
–Make sure all electrical work in your home is done by a qualified professional.
–Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing, curtains away from heaters (a good rule of thumb is 3 feet from anything that could burn).
–Turn heaters off when you leave a room.
–Use a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.
–Put the fire out before you go to sleep.
–Put ashes in a metal container with a lid outside and at least 3 feet from your home.
–Clean and inspect your chimney each year by a professional.
–Clean your roof of dead leaves and debris.
–Trim any branches hanging near or over your chimney.
To learn how you can be a part of the Mi-Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Protection District Volunteer firefighting team, please visit the station in Mi Wuk Village, or call 209-586-5256
For more information on home heating safety visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/winter.html