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Fire officials this week are warning of cold weather fire danger. Days are shorter, evenings are cooler and Oregon households are beginning to turn up the heat.

Oregon State Fire Marshal Nancy Orr reminded Oregonians that chimney fires and combustibles left too close to a heat source are the state's two leading fire causes in heating related fires.

These types of fires are easily prevented by keeping chimneys cleaned and remembering to keep combustibles such as furniture, blankets and clothing far away from heaters, woodstoves and similar heat sources.

During the last five years, fires involving heating sources, including woodstoves, portable, baseboard and wall heaters, were responsible for 2,891 fires causing 11 deaths and 59 injuries to Oregonians. Property losses from these fires are estimated at $27.4 million. Almost half of these fires began in chimneys.

Simple precautions prevent fires.

To reduce fire risk Lake Oswego Fire Department recommends that you:

* Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned each year by a qualified chimney sweep. Ask them to check for creosote deposits, soot build-up or physical damage.

* Move combustibles including paper, trash, furniture, bedding or clothing at least three feet away from heat sources. Heat sources include candles, gas/wood/pellet stoves, portable, baseboard and wall heaters and any sources with an open flame.

* Be cautious with portable heaters. Make sure these heaters have a tip switch to turn them off if knocked over. Keep them away from high traffic areas and unplug them when not in use and at night.

- Source: city of Lake Oswego

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