Sycamore Fire Dept: Please Be Safe With Recreational Fires


Recreational Fires are a great way to enjoy special times together with families and friends. Recreational fires are generally small fires either in a fire pit or a commercially produced chamber, enclosure or screened enclosure. The Sycamore Fire Department wants you to enjoy these fires safely and not have them turn into tragedies.

Recreational fires do not require a permit from the Sycamore Fire Department; however, bon-fires do require a permit. Bon-fires are generally larger fires used for ceremonial, celebratory or social events and require a permit issued by the Sycamore Fire Department.

Here are some tips for keeping your recreational fire safe:

1. Pick a spot for your fire at least 25 feet away from any buildings or other structures that could ignite easily.

2. Never burn on windy or especially dry days.

3. Keep your fire in an area free from dry trees, grass, leaves or other things of nature where sparks could spread the fire.

4. Always have water, sand or dirt, and a shovel or a portable fire extinguisher of at least a 4-A rating close by to use to put out the fire in case of an emergency.

5. Use a commercially produced fire enclosure or an outdoor fire pit with 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 hot.

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

8. Know & follow the local ordinances where you live regarding the appropriate use of recreational fires.

Here are some 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.

Lastly, here are some points to remember about putting your fire out:

1. Never leave your fire unattended, even if it is down to just hot coals, ash and glowing embers.
2. Pour Water on your fire to drown all the embers. After you stop adding water, listen to be sure all hissing has stopped, and steam is no longer rising. If it still is hissing, add more water.
3. Stir the remains of the fire with a shovel to mix it with the water.
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 nice and cool, not hot.

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

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

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