Cal Fire Issues Camping Fire Safety Tips

With the approaching Fourth of July holiday, state fire officials are hoping the public is extra careful to avoid a preventable inferno.

For many, the Fourth of July signals the start of summer and time for fun family outings and vacations, especially camping.

However, with hot and dry conditions, summer is also the time for wildfires, Cal Fire officials warned in a press release issued Friday.

If left unattended and not properly extinguished, campfires can produce a wildfire, the release said.

Campfires can also be extremely dangerous for children, who should never be allowed to play around them or outdoor cooking appliances.

Devastating burn injuries are all too common when safety rules are not followed, the release noted.

In addition, fire officials said it is important to use flammable liquids (lighter fluid, kerosene, propane) and related appliances safely.

The agency reminded all campers and outdoor enthusiasts to keep the following safety tips in mind while enjoying the outdoors:

  • Obtain a campfire permit before starting any campfire.
  • Use only approved and established campgrounds and campfire rings.
  • Locate the campfire a safe distance away from tents, trees, or buildings.
  • Clear the area around your campfire down to soil for 5 feet in all directions.
  • Teach everyone “stop, drop, and roll.”
  • Use electric or battery lights in RVs.
  • When using a propane appliance, light a match before turning on the gas.
  • Store flammable liquids away from your tent or RV, and away from open flames.
  • Use flammable liquids only for their intended purpose.
  • Never let children use or play with lighter fluid or have them start a campfire.
  • Clear vegetation from around the tent for at least 3 feet.
  • Keep lanterns and open flames outside of the tent.
  • Completely extinguish fires, and turn off all lanterns and stoves, before going to bed.

When it comes to firewood, Cal Fire officials said, it's important to buy it where you burn it. "By burning firewood where you buy it, you can eliminate the chance of spreading nonnative pests and diseases from one area to another. This is an important step in preserving and protecting our natural resources," they said in the release. 

Dave Lane June 30, 2012 at 09:02 PM
FUTURE Water Supply/Wildfire Outlook: Per the Santa Clara Valley Water District (valleywater.org): "Earth's climate is changing, posing one of the most significant threats to our water resources. Unprecedented long-lasting droughts that leave our largest reservoirs dry are also anticipated. A major earthquake threatens a catastrophic failure of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee system, through which about half of Santa Clara County's water supply passes." How can possible wildfires 3-15 years from now be fought without an adequate water supply to quickly jump on a fire, particularly on a windy day? The groundwater system contains about 5 times capacity as the 10 county reservoirs. At the 2012 halfway point Lexington Reservoir, 38.47% times larger than Vasona, is 53.9% empty. In Santa Clara County ONLY 393 acres, for example at 1250 Dell Avenue, Campbell, fenced in dog park location, out of 839,680 acres have been dedicated to percolation ponds. Rainwater harvesting needs to be promoted and rebates offered. A 1,000 square foot roof can capture about 500 gallons with 1 inch rain. Greywater systems (washing machine, shower, tub water reuse) need promotion and rebates. "Just as water is the foundation of life it must also be the foundation of design of the built environment." (Betsy Damon, founder of Keeper of the Waters) "Slow the water (rain) down. Spread the water out. Sink the water into the land." (Brock Dolman, Occidental California Water Institute)


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