May 22, 2020 10:15 a.m.
As residents prepare for the holiday weekend, fire officials with the Douglas Forest Protective Association are reminding them to practice campfire safety.
Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed said abandoned campfires are a common issue this time of year. He said many people think a campfire will simply burn itself out and there isn’t a need to extinguish it before leaving the area. Reed said campfires that are not properly extinguished can smolder for days or even weeks before popping back to life and potentially becoming a wildfire.
Reed has tips for people to use before building a campfire this weekend:
*Many landowners do not allow campfires on their property any time of the year. Residents should know whose land they are on and have permission before building a campfire.
*Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten logs and stumps.
*Scrape away grass, leaf litter, duff and any other flammable material within five feet of the campfire. This will help prevent a campfire from spreading.
*Keep campfires small. Smaller campfires are safer and easier to manage.
*Always keep water and a shovel nearby.
*Never leave a campfire unattended.
*Extinguish the campfire before leaving the area. Drown it with water, stir and separate the coals with a shovel, and then drown it again.
Reed said residents should remember that they are liable for fire suppression costs and associated damages that result from escaped or abandoned campfires. Those costs can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to potentially millions of dollars.