Busy Day for MFD Firefighters; Multiple Outdoor Fires

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 8:13am

Seven fire calls kept firefighters on the move on Tuesday, several of them the result of outdoor burning.
The string of fires began shortly after noon in the 800 block of Williamson St., where Engine Company 3 extinguished an exterior fire before the occupant was aware of it. The cause of that fire is under investigation.
At approximately the same time, Engine Company 9 was called to extinguish an outdoor fire at the Sequoya Library branch on Tokay Blvd. That fire is also under investigation.
At 2:30 p.m., Engine 3 was on the road again for smoldering mulch under the front steps of a multi-unit apartment building. E3 put the fire out with a water extinguisher. A cigarette butt was found in the mulch.
Meanwhile, on the north side, Engine Company 10 was called to a cooking fire in the 3800 block of School Rd. at 2:45 p.m. One patient was transported to UW hospital.
Unauthorized burning of construction material brought Ladder 8 to the 700 block of Gannon Ave. at 6:45 p.m. The homeowner was briefed on City ordinances regarding outdoor burning and the fire was extinguished.
Also at 6:45 p.m., Engine 10 responded to a building fire believed to be started by children playing with a lighter. The damage was limited to burned carpet with slight charring to the wooden step under the carpet.  
Just before 4:00 a.m., Engine 4 was called to an address in the 500 block of W. Wilson St., where an unwelcome guest allegedly took a smoldering log out of the backyard burn pit and placed it on one of the lawn chairs and melted it. Several of the other chairs had smoldering sticks on them and had melted holes in them also.
Details of yesterday’s fires can be found in the Department’s Daily Reports. 
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents that spring is prime time for outdoor fires:
Grass Fires

  • Dried out vegetation is easily ignited by discarded matches, cigarettes, or wayward sparks. To better protect your home, clear out dead growth at the base of the foundation.
  • Always make sure cigarettes and matches are completely extinguished before discarding them; dousing them in water is best
  • Once started, grass fires can move swiftly. A fire on Madison’s west side last March burned several acres before fire crews could bring it under control.

Out Door and Open Burning

  • The Madison General Ordinance (34.13 and 34.14) and the State Fire Code prohibit outdoor and open burning without a permit. Fire Codes do permit fires for cooking and approved outdoor fireplaces.
  • The Fire Department does not permit the burning of yard waste, construction debris, brush, etc.
  • If the Fire Department receives a complaint, they will respond and can, at the discretion of the Fire Officer, extinguish the fire for any violation of the following conditions, or, if the fire is creating a hazard or nuisance.

Planter Fires

  • Another fire concern that arises year-round, but especially with warmer weather is the use of potted plants for discarded cigarette butts.
  • Conventional wisdom suggests that a cigarette extinguished in dirt has nothing left to burn. But potting soil has a much different composition than the dirt you dig up in your backyard. With a heavy concentration of peat, the soil itself can burn. Such fires have destroyed entire buildings in recent years.

Fire Pits

  • While fire pits are legal in the City, they must have a spark arrester in use at all times. Only dry wood should be burned, and they must be attended by a legal adult, with a water source nearby for early suppression.
  • And, whether ashes from a fire pit or charcoal grill, it is important to make certain that the ashes are completely cool before discarding them.




Health & Safety