The onset of cooler weather has people using their fireplaces for the first time this year.

But fire officials are warning anyone with a fireplace to make sure their chimney is clean to avoid sparking a house fire.

“Winter’s coming up, get your fireplaces looked at to make sure they’re safe and clean,” said District Fire Chief Paul Colcy.

Colcy was at the scene of a fire in the south Edmonton neighbourhood of Blue Quill on Sunday. It appears to have started near the chimney chase in the back of the house.

John Elllingson, owner of Chimney Guys and  St. Albert Chimney Sweep, says chimney fires start from an excessive buildup of a substance called creosote.

“Chimneys should be cleaned approximately every cord of wood you burn, or every two to three years if you're not using it very often, just to make sure everything is still good and to get the dirt out,” he said.

Homeowners may have to wait about three weeks to get their chimney cleaned so it's best to book ahead.