The American Red Cross reports they’ve helped 34 people find temporary housing after seven residential fires in Iowa this past weekend. Ron Humphrey, a special agent in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, says unfortunately there’s often an increase in fires at this time of year.

“It’s due to not one of two particular items,” Humphey says. “It’s several different things — it’s heating, it’s fireplaces, it’s smoking, it’s cooking.”

The Red Cross helped apartment dwellers in Dubuque after a fire there, plus there were single family home fires in Lost Nation, Pocahontas, Sioux City and Gowrie this past weekend. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, the top three days for cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Humphrey says during the first cold snap of the season, there are often a rash of fires caused by things like faulty fire places or space heaters.

“It just really depends upon year to year and season to seaon what the weather’s doing,” Humphrey says.

Iowa fire departments make monthly fire incident report to the Fire Service Training Bureau at Iowa State University. Through the end of November, 4,389 structure fires were reported in Iowa, ranging from a small fire contained to the kitchen stove to enormous fires that destroyed a business.

The final tally for all fires reported in Iowa should be compiled by February.