Outdoor Fires Increase with Spring Weather

May 2, 2011

Warmer temperatures this weekend brought more people outdoors, and with the increase in outdoor activities, the City of Madison Fire Department has been responding to more outdoor fires.

Both this weekend and last, firefighters responded to a variety of outdoor fires, most of which fell into one of two categories: grass/vegetation fires, and improper disposal of charcoal.

The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
Use Barbecue Grills Safely
• Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
• Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
• Use only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.

Charcoal Grills
• Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
• Remember that coals may stay hot for up to 48 hours after use. Always dispose of charcoal in a non-combustible container away from other flammables.

Propane Grills
• Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
• If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
1) Turn off the propane tank and grill.
2) If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
3) If the leak does not stop, call 911.

It's important to remember that open burning of any kind without a permit obtained from the Department is strictly prohibited within City limits. The Department only issues permits for prairie burns. The Department will NOT issue burn permits for bonfires and the like.

The City does allow for the use of fire pits and Clay fireplaces (Chimineas) - but with specific conditions. Please visit our website for more information: http://www.cityofmadison.com/fire/documents/OutdoorandOpenBurningGuide.pdf

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947