National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter Fire Safety


  • Cooking is usually the number one cause for residential fires, with open flames and heating fires often the number two and three causes
  • Most heating fires in Minnesota involve fireplaces or chimneys
  • Almost three-quarters of fire deaths occur in the home, making it the most dangerous place to be with regard to fire
  • Many home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors

Safety Information

  • Turn off portable heating appliances when leaving the home or retiring for the evening. This includes verifying that a fire in the fireplace has been fully extinguished
  • Have at least 3 feet of clearance between any heating equipment and anything that can burn. Keep children and loose clothing away from any heating equipment
  • Have chimneys and fireplaces and other heating devices professionally inspected prior to the start of every heating season
  • Use a sturdy screen or glass closure in front of your fireplace, and burn only clean fireplace wood
  • Make sure smoke detectors are installed on every level of your home, including your basement. Test them monthly
  • Place holiday decorations well away from heat sources. If you use a tree, water it daily as a dry tree can be consumed by fire in an instant while generating enough heat to ignite the entire room

The above recommendations are courtesy of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs' Association and the State Fire Marshal Division. For further information, contact:

  • Your local fire department
  • The State Fire Marshal Division at (651) 201-7200
  • The State Fire Chiefs' Association at (800) 743-0911