A mirror sparked a house blaze in Linthwaite.

Now fire chiefs are warning people not to under-estimate the power of the sun’s rays, even in winter.

They are warning about the dangers of magnifying mirrors being placed in direct sunlight.

It follows a fire in Linthwaite, when the concentration of the sun’s rays by a magnifying concave mirror set a box of Christmas decorations alight. The fire, earlier this month, began while the family were away.

The fire burned itself out, but caused extensive damage to the bedroom. Luckily, the closed bedroom door prevented damage to the whole house.

Fire Investigation Officer Lee Miller said: “These fires tend to happen in the autumn and winter months when the sun is low in the sky. The window in the room where this fire started was south facing.

“Rays can be particularly concentrated when they hit concave mirrors and crystal, so if they are directed towards ignitable materials such as curtains or cardboard, it can be disastrous.”

Mr Miller gave the following advice:

• Consider storing objects such as magnifying glasses, mirrors, spectacles and glass ornaments away from windows,

• Take extra care during the autumn and winter months when the sun is low in the sky.

• Get into the habit of closing internal doors when you leave home and as part of your bedtime routine.

• Test your smoke alarm every week.

• Don’t place objects capable of focussing the sun’s rays close to the window, where there are combustible materials such as upholstery, curtains or paper.