With the nights creeping in, the fire service is encouraging those with chimneys to stay safe.

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WITH the colder weather drawing in, fire crews have been called out to a number of chimney fires this week.

On Monday at 5.45pm, a crew from Torrington used small tools and a hosereel jet to extinguish a small fire in a chimney at a house in Haytown in Putford.

A fire engine from Hatherleigh attended a chimney fire above an open fire at a house in Totten Road in the town.

The crew arrived around 11.30am and used chimney gear and ladders to access and extinguish the fire.

On Saturday evening an appliance from North Tawton attended an incident in Hollacombe near Chulmleigh.

The crews arrived at 9.30pm and used a thermal imaging camera to locate hot spots and chimney extinguishing gear.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue have advised those with chimneys they need to keep them dirt free and clean them regularly to avoid problems.

A spokesman said: “Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.

“Check that your chimneys and flues are clean and well maintained and free of any blockages like bird nests and cobwebs.

“The chimney breast itself will need inspecting, particularly in the roof space, making sure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.”

Oil and gas fire chimneys should be swept once a year, bituminous coals should be swept twice a year, smokeless coals at least once a year and wood up to four times a year.

The fire service has issued the following top tips for safer chimneys:

• Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

• Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed or leaving the house

• When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only

• Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper

• Do not overload the grate

• Consider having a carbon monoxide detector fitted as an additional safeguard against the build up of poisonous fumes

• Have a working smoke alarm

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