News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Home winter fire safety starts with you

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and local fire departments encourage all Oregonians to take a moment to think about fire safety for this winter season. Oregon experiences more fires during the winter months than any other time. 

Taking simple precautions can prevent most fires. Follow safety tips below to help ensure your family’s safety.

Portable Heaters

Give heaters space. Put at least 36 inches of empty space between the heater and everything else, like furniture, curtains, papers and people.

Vacuum and clean the dust and lint from all heaters. A buildup of dust and lint can cause a fire. 

Check the cord on portable electric heaters. If the cord gets hot, frayed or cracked have the heater serviced.

Never use extension cords with portable electric heaters. It is a common cause of fires.

Turn off portable heaters when family members leave the house or are sleeping. 

An adult should always be present when a space heater is used around children. 

Make sure your portable electric heater is UL approved and has a tip-over shut off function.

Woodstove and Fireplace Safety

Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney and fireplace for creosote build-up, cracks, crumbling bricks and obstructions. 

Place fireplace or wood stove ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that burns. 

A flue fire can ruin your chimney or stovepipe. To prevent flue fires, burn dry, well-seasoned wood. Burn small, hot fires. Do not burn trash. 

Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to prevent sparks from escaping. If children are present, use a special child-guard screen as a barrier for your wood stove.

Alternative Heat Sources

Kerosene heaters are not approved for use in homes in Oregon. Kerosene heaters can emit poisonous fumes. Barbecues, charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. These items can produce carbon monoxide. Odorless and colorless, a build-up of carbon monoxide can be deadly.


If you have a portable generator, make sure you place it in a well-ventilated area. 

Read the manufacture’s instructions before using it.

Be sure generator fuel is properly and safely stored according to fire regulations. 

Never store fuel or flammable liquids in a basement or near an open flame. 

Always refuel the generator outdoors and away from any ignition sources. 

If you choose to have a generator permanently connected to your home’s electrical system, make sure a licensed electrician installs it and be sure to notify your electric company. Improperly installed generators can cause multiple types of hazards not only for you bur for the power company workers as well.

If you have any questions regarding these winter safety heating tips, call the Mill City Volunteer Fire Department at 503-897-2390.


The Mill City Volunteer Fire Department wants to remind everyone that burn season ends Dec.15. Try to get your burn pile burned by that date. If you can’t get it burned, cover your pile and wait for the spring season to open, which will be March 1, 2023. The Fire Department wants everyone to have a safe and fire-free holiday season.

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