DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Miami Valley has seen a spike in fires in recent weeks. More than 25 fires have been reported just since the beginning of October. 

The increase is concerning as we approach the colder months and the use of different ways to heat homes becomes more common. Although there has recently been an uptick in fires across the area, local firefighters say it’s not unusual.  

Being mindful of fire safety in the winter months is something to keep in mind. The best way local fire officials feel to prevent tragic fires is to take fire prevention seriously. 

“We want to see people when they’re having a good day, not just when they’re having a bad day, when they’ve lost all their belongings and maybe somebody in their family has been injured,” said Brad French, fire captain, Dayton Fire Department.

According to the US Fire Administration, cooking is the leading cause for house fires.

“Turn those pot handles to the rear so they don’t inadvertently get knocked off,” French says. “Also, making sure you’re staying with your cooking when you’re doing so, not starting something up in the kitchen and then going off to doing something else.”

It’s also important to have smoke alarms throughout your home, and that they are checked often. When it’s colder outside, space heaters become common to heat a home but they need space.  

“It’s really important that space heaters in your home have at least three feet, all surrounding them on all sides of the house, free from combustible objects,” said French.

Furnaces and fireplaces should be cleaned and ready before the winter months. 

“Open your windows up in your house,” said Joshua Schiebrel, assistant fire chief, Bethel Township – Miami County. “Let your furnace run for a little bit. Burn off all that smoke or not smoke per se, but maybe the dust that’s collected on your furnace so it doesn’t set off your smoke detectors, that first initial burn.” 

Having a precautionary plan in place, plus practicing fire drills at home may help in the event in an actual emergency.

“Practice those in the home also have a safe meeting point, whether it’s a tree mailbox, practice those with your kids,” says Schiebrel.

Firefighters tell 2 NEWS it’s important to keep driveways and hydrants clear of snow just in case they have to respond come to your home for a fire.