With more chilly nights expected this winter season, fire department across the state are reminding residents to review fireplace safety.
"Nothing better on these cold nights than a cozy fire in the fireplace," fire officials said. "...Be winter safe and make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room."
When disposing of ashes, be sure they are cool before putting them in a metal container and keep that container a safe distance away from your home, fire officials said.
Heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration and FEMA.
Nationwide, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes.
Chimney maintenance is a key part of preventing home heating fires, fire officials said.
"Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes," federal fire officials said. "All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently."
Overnight lows for Scotts Valley are expected to be in the low 30s in the coming days.
For more information on fireplace safety, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/fireplace.