Watch What You Burn - Warns Fire Service
This included four chimney fires during just one evening – at 6.10pm at Castle Park in Kilpeck, at 6.20pm in Brickhouse Lane in Stoke Prior, at 7pm in Hereford Road in Storridge and at 10.05pm in Lower Broadheath in Worcester, all on Thursday 3 March.
Watch Commander Darren Packwood from the Community Safety department at H&WFRS said: "The Service has seen a marked increase in chimney fires this winter (see Note 1), a trend that is very concerning, especially considering just how dangerous chimney fires can be.
"While it's difficult to say for sure why we've seen this upturn, we believe that it's in part due to the early cold snap and also because people are choosing to use their fireplaces and woodburners more in response to the increased costs of other fuels."
Watch Commander Packwood was keen to stress that whatever the reasons for the increase, many chimney fires are preventable.
He continued: "Our key piece of advice is to get your chimney swept regularly, as this really will reduce the risk of it catching fire. We'd also advise that fireguards are used at all times and that people only burn the recommended fuels for their particular type of burner."
H&WFRS has produced a chimney safety leaflet detailing how often chimneys should be swept and website addresses to visit for details of approved chimney sweeps operating locally. It also encourages anyone noticing a fire in their chimney to call 999 immediately and to get out and stay out until the Fire Service arrives.