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Enjoy camp or bonfires safely

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 10:18 a.m. CDT

Recreational fires and campfires are a great way to enjoy special times together with family and friends. The Sycamore Fire Department offers these tips to help you enjoy these fires safely and not have them turn into tragedies.

• Start fires away from buildings or other structures – at least 25 feet for campfires and 50 feet for bonfires.

• Never burn on windy or especially dry days.

• Keep your fire in an area free from dry trees, grass, leaves or other things where sparks could spread the fire.

• Always have water, sand or dirt and a shovel close by to use to put out the fire in case of an emergency.

• Use an outdoor fire pit or make a fire ring of non-combustible materials around your fire area.

• Always keep your fire under control. Don’t let it get too big or hot.

• Always make sure an adult is tending the fire. Children and pets should be monitored closely and taught to avoid getting near the flames.

• Know and follow local ordinances regarding the appropriate use of recreational fires.

• Don’t use combustible fluids like gasoline, kerosene or charcoal lighter fluid to start your fire.

• Use a small amount of dry tinder and kindling wood to start your fire. Use a long match or lighter to ignite the tinder.

• Never leave your fire unattended, even if it is down to just hot coals, ash and glowing embers. Pour water on your fire to drown all the embers. Listen. If you hear a hissing noise or steam is rising from the embers, keep adding water until it stops.

• Stir the remains of the fire with a shovel to mix the fire remains and water together.

• After you have watered down the fire and stirred it up with a shovel, place a hand near – not on – the extinguished fire area. It should feel cool.

• Be very careful disposing of the ash and coals. Many fires have started in garbage cans or on the sides of structures due to ashes or coals from a fire thought to be long extinguished.

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