Warmer Weather Prompts Fire Safety Reminders

April 4, 2014

With the weather beginning to warm up, and the promise of more outdoor activities this weekend, 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.

s Fire Investigation Unit. The unit is obligated by law to investigate any suspicious fire. Arson is a felony charge. Consequences may include fines, jail time, and, in the case of students, University disciplinary action.

Planter Fires
Another fire concern that arises year-round, but especially with warmer weather is the use of potted plants for displcarded 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, clean 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.

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