SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The Midstate has seen a string of major fires in April, and it is not even peak fire season — fire season is usually in winter.

Swatara Township Fire Chief Mike Ibberson saw two of those major fires in the span of just one week. He offered some simple steps to prevent a repeat.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news, and sports alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here. 

Three major fires have hit the Midstate in less than two weeks, including an apartment building and hotel fires in Swatara Township which displaced close to 90 people, and a fatal fire in Lewistown, Mifflin County.

“We can’t predict when the fires are going to be and sometimes they come to a couple in a row,” Ibberson said. “Typically this is not really our busy season.”

Ibberson said there are several common causes of fire people can look out for.

“Cooking, electrical fires, heating, candles, and smoking,” he said.

Winter is typically considered fire season, with furnaces and other heating devices running, but warmer weather brings new concerns like grills.

“Make sure you’re at least 10 feet away from your home because grills can flash and cause damage,” Ibberson said.

Ibberson said nearly half of all fires start because of cooking, and it is one of the most preventable causes.

“Easiest thing to do is put a lid on your pot,” he said.

When it comes to a stove fire, he said to use baking soda. Water will make a grease fire worse.

“A lot of people panic and they just think, I see fire, I need to put water on the fire,” he said.

Fire safety is not just about prevention. Ibberson said being prepared is just as important. His number one tip is to check your smoke detectors.

“We say when you change your clocks, change your batteries,” he said.

Ibberson said there were functioning smoke detectors at both recent fires in Swatara Township and that saved lives.

“No question in my mind, if there would not have been working smoke detectors in those instances, the loss of life or serious injury is highly likely,” he said.

Ibberson also told me it is important to make a plan with your family in case there’s a fire. Set up a meeting place away from the home so you can easily tell firefighters whether everyone in your house made it out safely.

Ibberson also highlighted the importance of home or renters insurance.