BEATRICE - As the temperatures begin to change, so do the ways in which fires can start and duties become different for area fire authorities.

In Beatrice, and much of southeast Nebraska, firefighters have been kept busy by wildfires, says Chief Brian Daake. With dry conditions still around, those still could be an issue heading into winter.

“This has actually been the second-busiest year of all time for wildfires, 2012 being the busiest,” Daake said. “From the outdoor perspective, everything is still dry out there and it’ll get drier if we don’t start getting some moisture.”

The winter months of December, January, and February are the busiest around the area for structural fires, says Daake.

“Usually that’s due to issues with electricity, not heating properly, chimneys not being regularly serviced and cleaned like they’re supposed to,” Daake said.

As far as how things change for firefighters during the winter, trucks often don’t carry water.

“What we do is, we don’t keep water in pumps in the trucks anymore,” Daake said. “That’s because, if they go out, the pump isn’t running, the pump can freeze up.”

As far as how people can prevent winter fires, one is by regularly cleaning chimneys. Daake explained that folks can come to the fire station and pick up a proper broom to do so thanks to donations from the Kiwanis club. Additionally, practice safety with portable heaters.

“Have an area of 31” away from portable heaters. Because, say you have your laundry basket near by, overtime, with portable heating, that laundry basket could heat up,” Daake said. “And over a long period of time, that device could reach its auto-ignition temperature. That means, it won’t need an outside fire, they’ve reached that point where they just combust on their own."