‘Tis the season.

No, not Thanksgiving or any other of our encroaching holidays.

This is the season of chimney fires.

An exceptionally moderate October this year means that November will be the first time that many of us fire up the fireplace or wood stove in an effort to take the chill off the autumnal air.

And that is a good thing — unless you haven’t taken care of business beforehand.

For many of us, relaxing in front of the fireplace or wood stove means just that — relaxation — and the last thing you may thinking about is the state of your chimney.

But it should be the first thing.

Simply, dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires — damaging structures, destroying homes or in the most tragic of losses, causing death.

Those who have experienced such fires have related the warning signs: loud popping or cracking noises, dense smoke or an urgent, hot smell.

Before you become one of those who can identify with that experience, it’s important to have your chimney inspected by a certified chimney sweep.

Without such an inspection, the buildup of chimney fire fuel — the black or brown flaky residue known as creosote — can go undetected until it’s too late.

Indeed, the majority of chimney fires are slow-burning and go undetected. Until it’s too late.

Yes, there are warning signs that you’ve had such a fire and not known it. Those include a discolored rain cap, heat damaged antennas, damaged roofing material or exterior masonry cracks.

But waiting for those to appear is not the right call.

You know what that call is.

Make it today.

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