By Matt Kroschel

DENVER (CBS4)– There were more house fires across the nation in the first few weeks of the year compared to the year before.

Red Cross volunteers across the country responded to 3,150 home fires in the first nine days of the year, compared to 2,003 fires in the same time period for 2017.

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(credit: CBS)

Michael Masto, Regional Disaster Officer with the American Red Cross, says that can be attributed to a string of dangerously cold days.

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CBS4’s Matt Kroschel interviews Michael Masto, Regional Disaster Officer with the American Red Cross (credit: CBS)

“Just here in Colorado and Wyoming, we respond to at least two or three home fires per day,” Masto said.

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(credit: CBS)

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration.

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(credit: CBS)

Red Cross volunteers have responded to more than 88 events and assisted nearly 250 people in the five-week period ending Feb. 4.

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(credit: CBS)

Additional Information from the Red Cross:

  • Everyone can also follow these tips to help prevent a fire in their home:
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel – paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs – at least three feet away from sources of heat.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.

If someone would like to help the Red Cross continue to provide support to fire victims, please consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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