With a prolonged period of cold weather settling in over Las Vegas, many people are cranking up their fireplaces for an additional source of heat.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure your chimney is free of creosote buildup, according to Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.
"It's a plaque, creosote is highly flammable. When it catches fire, it will warp the pipe, causing it to break open, and the fire will extend into the wall and into the attic area," he said.
Creosote is a byproduct of anything that burns.
"People like to burn wrapping paper, put wrapping paper in the fireplace, and that has a waxy substance on it and it actually puts a lining on there, creating a fire hazard," Szymanski said.
People with gas fireplaces should never burn anything in the fireplace, according to Szymanski.
"Gas burns clean, so there shouldn't be any issues," he said.
Still, it's a good idea to make sure the connections between the fireplace and the gas line are secure.
Szymanski also warns people not to burn Christmas tree branches in the fireplace.
"Pine is a soft wood and has a greater concentration of creosote than any of the wood that is available in our area," he said.
Szymanski's recommendation is to burn hardwood or buy manufactured logs.
This colder-than-normal weather is expected to remain over Las Vegas for at least the next seven days.
Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.