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Roanoke County firefighters warn about increase in house fires

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ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department is seeing an increase in fires starting outside, but still causing damage to homes.

A fire on Golden Oak Lane is one of the fires this month that started because of discarded smoking material.

Roanoke County firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly before damage was caused to surrounding homes.

In the past few weeks, they've seen about five fires which started outside, but still managed to catch the home on fire.

Different causes could be a cigarette thrown into the grass or embers from a cooking grill or the low humidity and windy weather conditions

"Fire doubles in size by every 30 to 60 seconds. And I don't think people realize how fast fire is. And so they think a little cigarette butt or a little gas or amber from a grill, a little spark from a electrical malfunction, whatever it may be, won't hurt," said Brian Clingenpeel, the community outreach specialist for Roanoke County Fire & EMS.

Fire officials want to remind people to discard of smoking materials properly by using a metal can with sand so there's no chance of those ashes catching the grass or other around the home.

They also want to remind people of the burn ban still in effect until April 15 from the hours of 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. for those who live in Roanoke County.