Householders are being urged to check their chimneys after firefighters were called out to a fire at a thatched cottage.

Crews were alerted to the incident in Whitchurch Canonicorum at 6.15pm last night.

Crews from Charmouth and Bridport attended as well as the aerial appliance and a support engine from Yeovil Fire Station.

Climbing up onto the roof they used a hose reel jet to extinguish the fire, and deployed a thermal imaging camera to check for hotspots.

A spokesman for Charmouth Fire Station said: "Make sure your chimney is regularly swept and the condition checked."

According to Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, a clean chimney can help prevent fires and structural damage to your property. Regular cleaning of your chimney or flue will eliminate the build-up of soot and clear obstructions such as bird or animal nests, leaves and debris.

It is not enough to use a vacuum cleaner and you should make sure that your chimney or flue is inspected regularly.

Chimneys should be swept:

*At least once a year when using smokeless fuels

*At least once a year when using bituminous coal

*Every three months when burning wood

*Once a year when using oil

*Once a year when using gas

The following safety advice should always be followed when lighting an open fire or woodburning stove:

*Don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to light your fire

*Don’t burn excessive amounts of paper or rubbish

*Don’t overload the fire with fuel

*When the fire is alight, check the loft space occasionally to make sure there is no smoke leaking from cracks, defective brickwork or mortar joints