Fire officials in the Flathead are warning residents living in rural areas to be fire aware when heating up households during cold winter months.
Hungry Horse Fire Chief Jared Lako says wood stoves and indoor heating appliances are the number one cause of house fires in rural areas from November through March.
Lako recommends cleaning out wood stoves and chimneys frequently and only using dry in-season firewood.
He says wood stoves should be at least 3-feet away from any household items that could burn while making sure an 18-inch barrier separates the back of the stove from the nearest wall.
Lako says clearing snow around neighborhood fire hydrants can also go a long way in helping firefighter response times.
“We also have a lot more snow than many of the valley locations, so making sure that if they’re in a hydrant district that the hydrant is plowed and cleared from any snow, it always helps us when we’re responding to these types of fires that we’re able to hook up quickly,” said Lako.
Lako said another fire safety tip is using only one electrical heating device per outlet.