Climbing numbers of house fire callouts in Whanganui are partly due to increased community awareness, the city's fire chief says.

As reported in the Chronicle on Monday, last year Whanganui firefighters received 69 house fire callouts - a sharp contrast to 2011 when there were just 30 callouts.

"I guess what happens, when the community becomes more aware, we get called to more fires," area commander Bernie Rush said. Mr Rush said people would often deal with small fires themselves, but as they came to understand fire safety more, they would call the fire service instead of trying to tackle the situation alone.

However, he said the number of fires also appeared to be increasing.

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"The most common one is a pot left on the stove. In the days before smoke alarms, those fires would have gotten out of control."

Despite the increase in fires, Mr Rush said serious fires were decreasing.

"It's really rewarding at the moment, the number of calls we get because neighbours have heard the smoke alarms.

"Call us early. We recommend calling from a safe place if you discover a fire. Don't stay in the building."

Mr Rush said the fire service recommended 10-year photoelectric smoke alarms.

Photoelectric smoke alarms can be bought in places around Whanganui, including Mitre 10 Mega, Bunnings Warehouse, Briscoes, and the Warehouse.

They range from about $10 to $70.