Missoula Rural Fire Chief Chris Newman says he's seen an increase in motor home and RV fires with the recent colder weather.

And the number of people using RV's as permanent housing has raised additional safety concerns.

There are over 20,000 motor home fires in the U.S. each year.  Newman said his crews respond to more than a dozen every year with most coming in the summer months.

But since late October, Missoula fire crews have responded to four RV fires.

Newman said the most common place for a fire to start in a RV is by the cooking area, followed by the engine compartment.

Advice he gives to prevent fires include:
*Declutter the cooking area, like moving paper towels and curtains.
*Get RV brakes checked regularly, to avoid sparking a fire from dragging brakes.
*Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.