Warmer Weather Prompts Fire Safety Reminders

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 6:31am

With the weather warming up this week, the City of Madison Fire Department has some reminders for residents regarding fire safety and prevention.

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.

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.
Information on Outdoor and Open Burning can be found on the City of Madison Fire Department web site at www.madisonfire.org.

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.

City of Madison firefighters responded to a fire that started this way over the weekend in downtown Madison. In 2007, a similar fire took down a 35-unit apartment building.

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 with a water source nearby.

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.


  • Lori Wirth608-266-5947