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Householders with open fires have been warned to make sure their chimneys are properly swept and maintained to avoid potential problems.

As part of Chimney Fire Safety Week Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service has issued advice about open fires.

The service said that while they could provide a welcome focal point and prove an alternative method of heating they could also increase the risk of fire if not looked after properly.

The service said those with chimneys should make sure they are swept to remove deposits which have built up over time.

It said sweeping made sure there was a clear and safe passage for gases caused by the fire to clear away.

It also means that objects such as nests, cobwebs and loose brickwork do not obstruct the chimney.

Oil and gas chimneys should be swept once a year while bituminous coal chimenys need to be swept every six months.

Wood chimneys require sweeping up to four times a year.

To find a registered chimney sweep in your area visit hetas.co.uk
For more information visit 365alive.co.uk/cms/content/get-it-swept-0