LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

It's that time of year when a crackling fire in the fireplace is the perfect way to beat the cold.

But the La Crosse Fire Department says there are a few steps you'll want to take before striking the match. Firefighters say build up can often occur inside your chimney causing fires when you use your fireplace. The department recommends cleaning your chimney before you light your first fire and then keep an eye on the buildup throughout the winter months, cleaning it again whenever necessary.

The department hopes residents will call them not only for bigger issues, but also for any minor concerns.

"We're looking for people to be safe and if you ever have a problem don't hesitate to call 911. This is what we're here for 24/7 so we'll definitely show up. If it turns out to be minor or non-issue at least we can put people's mind at ease and make them feel good, " says Lt. Lance Tryggestad, La Crosse Fire Department.

The fire department has yet to respond to any chimney fires this season.