Homeowners with real open fires are being urged to do a DIY clean of their chimney before the winter sets in.
Firefighters told the Reading Post that failure to do so could lead to fires in the home, causing significant damage and putting lives at risk.
The warning follows a chimney fire at a semi-detached house in Whitley, which took crews around an hour to put out.
Rod Crook, watch manager at the Whitley Wood station, said the incident should act as a reminder to anyone intending to light open fires this winter.
"We would like to emphasis how important it is to clean your chimney before you light a fire this winter because the build-up of last year's carbon inside the chimney is flammable," he remarked.
Homeowners may also wish to inspect their chimney stacks for signs of damage ahead of the winter season, as storms and windy conditions could cause unstable parts to fall off, causing damage and potential injury to passersby.
Posted by Jenny Summer