Don’t forget about safety when you light that campfire

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childrenandfireFriends, family, neighbors; we love sharing stories with the ones we enjoy spending time with. Sometimes, this may be over the crackling of a campfire on a perfect evening. The Sycamore Fire Department wants to remind residents not to overlook fire prevention safety.

1. Select a spot for your fire away from buildings or other structures – at least 25 feet for campfires and 50 feet for bonfires.

2. Never burn on windy or especially dry days.

3. Keep your fire in an area free of trees, brush, leaves or other materials where sparks can cause fire to spread.

4. Always have water, sand or dirt and a shovel close by to use to put out the fire in case of an emergency, and when you are finished with your recreational fire.

5. Use an outdoor fire pit or have a fire ring of non-combustible materials setup around your fire area.

6. Always keep your fire under control. Avoid letting it get too big or too hot.

7. Always make sure an adult is tending the fire. Children and pets should be monitored closely and taught to avoid getting too near the fire.

8. Conform to local ordinance regarding the appropriate use of recreational fires.

Tips for starting your fire safely:

1. Don’t use combustible fluids (i.e. gasoline, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid) to start your fire.

2. Use a small amount of dry tinder and kindling wood to start your fire.

3. Use a long match or lighter to ignite the tinder to avoid burning yourself.

When you are done enjoying the fire, here are some tips to make sure the fire is safely out:

1. Never leave your fire unattended, even if it merely consists of hot coals, or glowing embers.

2. Pour Water on your fire to drown all embers. After adding water, listen to make sure  all hissing has stopped and that the steam is no longer rising. If needed, add more water until the fire is no longer hissing or steaming.

3. Stir the remains of the fire with a shovel to mix the water throughout the fire pit.

4. After you have watered down the fire and stirred it up with a shovel, place a hand near (not on to avoid a burn) the extinguished fire area. It should feel cool, not hot.

5. Be very careful when disposing of the ash / coals from a fire. Many fires have started in garbage cans, igniting structures due to ashes or coals from a fire thought to be long extinguished.

For more information on recreational fire safety, please contact the Sycamore Fire Department at (815) 895-4514, email us, or visit us on Facebook at City of Sycamore Fire Department for occasional postings.

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