BE VERY CAREFUL about how you use the heat lamp that keeps your chicks warm. DUANE BICKFORD of Fairfield, president of the Maine Fire Chiefs’ Association, said he has seen and heard about a number of heat lamp fires over his 27-year career.

CHICKS ARE TYPICALLY kept warm in wooden boxes filled with hay or wood shavings, all of which are known to firefighters as “ordinary combustibles.” These items are dry to begin with, and are dried out further by the heat lamp, Bickford said, “so they can reach their combustion temperature very quickly.”

HIS ADVICE? Keep the combustible materials at least three feet from the lamp. The lamp itself should be placed on a non-combustible surface or be hung as high as it practically can be. — MEREDITH GOAD

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