NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) – The cold weather all over Louisiana has many residents staying home trying to keep warm. This can lead to people starting house fires without the proper preparations.

The New Iberia Fire Department told News 10 that there is always an increase in house fires towards the end of the year.

Captain Scott Nicolle with the New Iberia Fire Department said that “usually in December, January, and February there is always an uptick in fires due to the cold.”

Nicolle said that there’s one important rule to remember when dealing with heating your home.

“The general rule of thumb, two to five feet. You want to keep any kind heat source, you want to keep two to five feet away,” Nicolle said. “That could be your space heaters, that can be your fireplace. Candles are another thing you do not want any drapery or anything around your candles.”

Nicolle also said that using your oven to stay warm is extremely dangerous.

“That is a big no-no as well. That can cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” Nicolle said.

Making sure your chimney is clean is another important step to take.

“It is really good to have your fireplace inspected by a professional,” Nicolle said. “Make sure your flume is open so we see a lot of that as well.”

The department emphasizes these tips not just around New Iberia but all over Louisiana in order to keep everyone safe and warm as the cold weather moves in.