Firefighters from Ludgershall were called to Collingbourne Ducis on Thursday after a chimney fire.

The crew from Ludgershall fire station, based on Castle Street, attended a property in the village at around 8:13pm, following reports of sparks and flames billowing from the stack.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze, along with a stirrup pump to extinguish the fire. A fan was then used to clear smoke from the building, as well as a chimney sweep.

Chimney fires occur for a number of reasons, including burning unseasoned wood, infrequent cleaning of the chimney, and smouldering wood for long periods in stoves.

To reduce the risk, fire services recommend that chimneys should be swept on a regular basis; at least once per season.

All wood burned should be dry, with no more moisture than 17 per cent, and appliances used to burn it should be appropriately sized. Too large an appliance will not become hot enough to burn the wood completely, leaving some compounds within it to condense within the flue as creosote, which is extremely flammable.

During the summer months, when the chimney is not in use, the flue should be checked to ensure it is free from debris and unblocked, with the potential for chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisonings made more likely when blocked.