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As we approach fire season, firefighters are preparing for controlled burns and the possibility of house fires in New Mexico. “The potential for a very severe fire season is definitely here” said Lieutenant Susan Powers, Wildland Fire Coordinator for the Bernalillo County Fire Department. The risk for a house fire is especially high if you live in an area near controlled burns, but the danger is still very real if you live in a metropolitan area. American Restoration Water & Fire, responds to numerous fire calls every year, and we’ve seen fires caused by everything from candles to space heaters. Here’s a look at the three common causes of house fires.

Cooking. Careless cooking is the number one cause of home fires. When you’re preparing a meal, be on alert! Never leave the kitchen while food is frying, boiling or grilling, and be sure to check it regularly. Do not wear loose sleeves while cooking and be sure to keep any flammable items like oven mitts, food packaging or wooden utensils away from your stovetop.

Electrical and appliances. A large number of house fires can be traced to electrical problems. Faulty outlets or appliances, light fixtures and space heaters are often to blame. If an appliance has a worn or frayed cord, don’t plug it in! Never install a light bulb with a wattage that is too high for your light fixture or lamp, and never place paper or cloth over a lampshade. If you’re using a space heater, be sure to keep it away from anything that can burn, like bedding, curtains, or furniture.

Smoking. Failing to properly extinguish a cigarette is a bad idea. A cigarette butt left smoldering can burst into flames hours later. Always dispose of cigarettes in large, deep ashtrays, and never leave ashtrays near anything that can burn.

Fire season may be here soon but knowing these common causes of house fires can prepare you to avoid them. Protect your family and your property by being aware of how to prevent fires. Of course, house fires still happen. American Restoration Water & Fire is here to help if and when that happens.