Summertime is rolling around, and we’re all getting a little antsy. It’s time to get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather. And since the Covid pandemic shut down much of our indoor social lives last year, many of us have been spending more time outdoors than we have in a long time.
While it’s great that we’re all getting back to spending those extra hours outdoors, it’s important that we do so safely. Summer fire season is rapidly approaching. No one wants to be the one to spark a massive fire that drives our neighbors from their homes. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you probably already understand the importance very well.
How to enjoy summer fires safely
Americans have a love affair with fire, and we mostly indulge in that love outdoors. Whether hosting barbecues, sitting around a campfire, or lighting off fireworks, these outdoor fires don’t come without risk. Since these outdoor summer activities are prone to starting fires, they’re a great place to start.
If you haven’t cleaned your grill since last summer, now is a great time to shine it up a bit. Built-up grease from a season of searing our favorite meats can create a fire hazard that lines the interior of your grill. You need to clean it occasionally. If your grill has a grease trap, make sure to clean them regularly, too. The longer you put it off, the grosser and more dangerous it will get.
If your grill catches fire, you may only lose the meat you’ve got on the grate, but if you’re grilling too close to a flammable structure, you could be in for a world of hurt. It’s not recommended to grill on a balcony or too close to deck railings, as the heat could start fires that can easily spread to the rest of the house or building.
Even if you follow all the safety tips, things can happen, and fires can still start. It’s always good to have a bucket of water or sand nearby so you can quickly extinguish any flames that threaten a larger fire. In fact, any time you are dealing with fire, it’s good practice to have a water supply readily available.
Once your meal is complete and you are done grilling, make sure any leftover coals are completely cooled before throwing them in a trash bin. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to mix with combustibles.
Keeping campfires contained
One of the greatest ways to end a gorgeous summer day is grab a group of friends and chat around the bonfire. It’s a great way to connect with others but can turn into trouble if you’re burning wood without summer fire safety in mind.
Some of the primary concerns with fire pits are high winds and fires that spit coals. If it’s too windy outside, it’s best to find some other activity for the evening. Strong winds stoke the fire, making it hotter, and brings with it the ability to send sparks flying into other flammable materials. If there’s any flammable litter in the area, you can use it to help start your fire, which means it isn’t out there waiting for hot sparks to land on it.
If you want to have a fire on a moderately windy day, it’s best to use a lid and cage that can keep the fire contained within. This also holds true if you are burning sappy wood like pine or cedar. Protecting your fire with a lid and cage will keep any embers and coals that might be spit from reaching anything flammable. If your fire starts getting away from you by some chance, it’s once again important to have a hose or a bucket of water or sand nearby.
Using fireworks safely
Rules regarding fireworks vary from state to state, but using them safely is always a requirement. While the dangers of fireworks that fly and explode are fairly obvious, we don’t always appreciate the potential risk associated with things like sparklers. No matter what kind of fireworks you are using, make sure you do so safely.
First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you have a responsible party overseeing the festivities any time you plan to display fireworks of any kind. Fireworks are a popular party favor any time people are drinking, so make sure someone is able to respond to any mishaps that may occur appropriately. And that doesn’t only go for inebriated adults. If kids are going to play with sparklers, make sure they are supervised. Sparklers burn very hot and can easily cause injury.
Like all activities that involve fire, you’ll want to make sure the weather conditions are favorable. If it’s windy or dry, you may want to postpone the show. Unlike some of the other activities on the list, fireworks require a bit more clearance. Don’t shoot off fireworks if you don’t have the space to do so safely. Keep them clear of things like buildings, trees, and tall grass.
Hotter months increase summer fire potential
July and August tend to be the hottest months in most cities in the northern hemisphere. Once we hit July, fire safety tips become incredibly important. The long, hot days lead to dry brush and grass. It’s no wonder we see the peak of our summer fire season during the dog days of summer, so brushing up on your fire safety tips for summer is best done before the danger levels rise.
Making this fire safety information a habit when the danger is relatively low gives you the opportunity to enjoy your summer without fear of starting a fire.