Campfire safety addressed prior to Independence Day celebrations

Roast with care:

If roasting marshmallows, help young children. Never shake a roasting marshmallow. It can turn into a flying, flaming ball. A heated metal skewer can cause burns.

Regional – Sitting under the stars by a crackling fire has its appeal. It’s where stories are told, sing-a-longs happen and meals are cooked over an open flame.

Campfires bring family and friends together. But campfire mishaps can cause injuries. With a few safety tips, accidents can be avoided.

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, fire chiefs in the area offered some words of wisdom for those planning to be outside enjoying cookoffs, grilling and fellowship time around the fire. 

“Having some water close by a campfire is always a good practice,” said Refugio Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ronnie Williams. “A one gallon pump up sprayer can be handy. Also make sure there is not any dry grass and dry leaves close to the fire. You should always clear out an area large enough that it can’t catch anything on fire.

“Watch out for windy conditions. Sparks can travel and set grass and brush ablaze easily. Make sure the fire is out before leaving. It can be covered up with dirt to help put the fire out.”

The National Fire Protection Association gives the following tips:

Safety around the fire

• Before setting up a campfire, be sure it is permitted. Check with your local fire department.

• If campfires are permitted, they need to be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn.

• Clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.

• Avoid burning on windy, dry days. It is easier for open burning to spread out of control when it is windy and dry.

• Watch children while the fire is burning. Never let children or pets play or stand too close to the fire.

• Attend to the campfire at all times. A campfire left alone for only a few minutes can grow into a damaging fire.

• Keep a campfire small which is easier to control.

• Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids.

• Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire. Make sure to put it completely out before leaving the site.

• If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.

• Treat a burn right away. Cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help if needed.

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