More than six fires flared up in the county over the last week, serving as a burning reminder of why firefighters hosted National Fire Prevention Week.

Santa Barbara Fire Dept. Public Information Officer Captain Keith Cullom said there was a slight increase in the number of fires over the past week. Cullom said these fires were especially important to note because they reinforce the theme of the prevention week, “Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat.”

“A number of the fires [were caused by neglecting] candles and cooking,” Cullom said. “Just by chance we had two fires that didn’t cause a lot of damage or injury, but it could have happened.”

As far as getting the message out to county residents, Cullom said the fire department depends on the local media.

“We are doing what we can, and that’s to lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” Cullom said.

Cullom said Fire Prevention Week’s theme emphasizes the importance of using common sense at home, and also the importance of smoke alarms, which prevented damage and possible death in two fires last Wednesday.

“The fact that we’ve had two fires in the past week that are related to cooking … that doesn’t bode well,” Cullom said. “The reason the theme this year is watch what you heat is because it is a problem across the nation.”

A 20-year-old woman caused a fire in her Goleta home on Wednesday morning after she left a candle burning unattended and it ignited a fabric drape. Local gardener, 28-year-old Gabreal Peralta, who heard a fire alarm and saw smoke coming from the house, pulled the burning drapes from the wall and carried them outside, minimizing the damage.

Also on Wednesday, there was a kitchen fire in Goleta after a woman left a pot of beans on her stove, and fell asleep. The 39-year-old woman was unconscious in her bedroom when firefighters, responding to a sounding smoke alarm, rescued her and her dog Scrappy from the house.

Cullom said there was also a house fire in Mission Canyon on Saturday, resulting in almost $200,000 in damage.