Practicing fire safety is important at all times

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fire is one of the oldest tools in history. Fire can be used to generate heat on a cold day, cook food that would otherwise be inedible and clear overgrown areas of land, among other things. Most people nowadays make fires to warm their campsite or to roast hotdogs and s’mores. While fires can be useful, they are also dangerous. According to statistics by the U.S. Fire Administration, in 2015 there were 1.3 million fires across the United States, which resulted in 15,700 injuries, 3,280 deaths and $14.3 billion in damages.

Fire can be a tricky thing to control. Just recently my mother called and told me that she was burning a pile of wood near the edge of her woods.

She stepped away for just a few minutes, and when she came back, the fire had spread and was eating its way through some of the nearby undergrowth. While she was able to get it under control before it spread further, she said losing control for even a moment was frightening.

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There are several things that can be done to prevent a fire from spreading.

First, be sure to call the local fire department to see if the weather is appropriate for a fire.

Occasionally, a burn ban is enacted due to dry, dangerous conditions. It is important to know if a ban is in place before lighting a fire.

An article by the National Fire Protection Association suggests keeping fires at least 25 feet away from flammable objects, and to clear away debris such as sticks, branches, leaves and pine straw before burning. Also, be sure to stay near the fire at all times. Most of all, avoid burning on especially windy days.

Fires are one of the hardest things in nature to control. Be sure to take extra precautions when utilizing this aspect of nature to ensure nothing is damaged and no one is hurt.