Ravalli County has faced many extreme wildfires in summer months, but County Sheriff Steve Holton says the fire problem now is beginning in people’s homes.

Over the past four or five days we've just responded to an upswing in fires with various fire departments across the county," Holton said. "They are all really just chimney fires and we'd like to get the information out and a reminder maybe to have folks clean those chimneys. I think they've been used a lot more than they have in past winters."

A very hot fire can help a chimney, but sometimes professional cleaning needs to occur.

"If you haven't had a hot fire over the course of the past few months, your best bet is to clean that chimney or have someone else come and clean that chimney for you," Holton said. "Try to avoid that creosote build up that is starting fires in chimneys and then getting into roofs. That's been the story the past four or five days, in areas all over the county."

Some warning signs for a chimney fire include loud cracking and popping noises, dense smoke, and an intense smell.

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