People tend to associate forest fires with California, where these fires occur nearly every summer. However, a summer fire danger exists all throughout the country. Extreme heat and hot summer winds combine with lightning strikes, or simply even human carelessness can create a destructive summer fire. These disasters consume everything from National Forest land to private homes and businesses.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), every year since 2000, over 72,000 wildfires burned an average of 7 million acres of land. Fire spreads incredibly quickly, particularly driven by wind, and even smaller fires can grow into the largest wildfire within minutes.
While summer is a time for fun, remember that according to a United States Fire Administration report, summer is also one of the most dangerous seasons for fire-related injuries and deaths. Don’t forget to follow these tips for summer fire safety; taking precautions will protect not only your family but the lives and property of those around you.
For your home, be careful with fire pits. A small spark leaping out of your fire pit can cause big problems in the summer heat. Wet the area around your fire pit down before starting your fire, and have a hose or fire extinguisher at the ready to handle any stray bits of wood which may fall out of the pit.
If you live in a wooded area, be sure to clear the area around your house of flammable materials such as leaves and pine needles which spread the fire quickly.
Summer Fire Safety Tips for Home:
Having a barbeque? Make sure your grill is clean. Grease fires can happen when your grill isn’t regularly cleaned, and they can get out of control quickly. For a grease fire, never use water, use your fire extinguisher instead.
Finally, make sure your house is clearly and visibly numbered. Remember, if the fire department can’t find your house, they can’t help you.
Fireworks are another cause of fires. Though they are illegal in NY, many people still use them. To keep them from causing a summer fire, NEVER light them indoors, keep a hose or fire extinguisher nearby, pre-wet the area in which you will be lighting them, and NEVER let children handle them.
Summer Fire Safety Tips When You are Away from Home:
When away from home, mind your surroundings. If you’re in a hotel, identify the nearest emergency exits. Ensure your family has a plan in case a fire breaks out and you become separated. Only stay in hotels with fire safety equipment such as sprinkler systems installed.
While driving, NEVER toss lit cigarettes out of your car. It only takes one cigarette to start the largest wildfire. Forest fires can start easily in dry conditions so do your part and keep cigarettes in the ashtray.
If we all do our part in taking proper precautions, we can enjoy outdoor activities while keeping the summer fire risk to a minimum. Use common sense, take some precautions, and you’ll have a fun time all summer long!