(Victor Valley) – As we head out for the last three day weekend of the summer, the thoughts of rest, relaxation, and fun need to also include thoughts of fire safety. As we have witnessed over the last few weeks, the California wildland is tender dry and more than ready to burn. The last month has seen a high number of days of 100 degrees or greater with the other days in the 90’s. This type of weather, combined with low humidities makes fire starts increasing possible. CAL FIRE officials report that live fuel moistures are critical, and near historically low levels. That is why it is so important to be prepared for fire safety as well as weekend fun.
The weather that we have been experiencing is perfect for increasing the variety of ways that a wildland fire can be started. Many of these potential fire starters are used by people who are relaxing and enjoying the rural areas of Southern California. CAL FIRE Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino Unit Fire Prevention Battalion Chief Preston Fouts says “while having fun in the outdoors with family and friends it is vitality important to safe guard this time through fire safe thinking and actions. Giving some thought to where you are and what you are doing can help to prevent fires from accidentally being started.”
Chief Fouts adds, “People who negligently cause a fire can be held liable for the cost of suppressing the fire.”
To assist you in having a safe time outdoors this weekend, CAL FIRE has some tips on how to be fire safe:
BBQ Safety: (Source: National Fire Protection Association)
- · Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
- · Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- · Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
- · Declare the entire grill area a “kid-free zone” until the grill has completely cooled off.
- · Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
- · If you have a charcoal grill, purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources. Wait for the charcoal to completely cool and then dispose of the coals in a metal container.
- · If you have a propane grill, check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. Have leaking fuel lines repaired before using.
- · All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPDs). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
Camping Safety – Recreational Vehicles:
- · Use only electric or battery-operated lights in RV’s
- · Clean and maintain appliances, gas connections and fume vents
- · When using propane appliances, light the match before turning on gas
- · Place portable heaters away from combustibles
- · Do not block exit ways
- · Extinguish smoking materials before going to sleep
- · Teach children to operate emergency escape hatches.
- · Keep a fire extinguisher by the exit door and install a battery operated smoke detector
- · Prepare and practice a fire escape plan
- · In case of fire while driving, turn off the ignition and evacuate the vehicle. Watch for traffic and traffic hazards while doing so.
Camping Safety – Tents:
- · Use only flame resistant tents
- · Clear a 3 foot area around tent site
- · Keep lanterns and open flames outside tent
- · Keep a fire extinguisher inside tent
- · Extinguish fires and turn off lanterns and stoves before going to sleep
- · Be prepared to cut your way out of the tent if fire occurs
Camping Safety – Campfires:
- · Obtain any necessary permits needed for campfires
- · Put campfire a safe distance from tents, trees, vehicles and buildings
- · Scrape away grass, pine needles and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of the campfire
- · Be sure campfire is out before leaving the area
- · Wear snug fitting clothing around campfires
- · Supervise children CLOSELY around campfires
- · Teach everyone to STOP, DROP and ROLL