Every year Americans look forward to summer vacations, camping, family reunions, picnics, and the Fourth of July. Summertime, however, also brings fires and injuries due to fireworks and outdoor grills. Annually just under 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. Last year, 73% of fireworks injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18.
Families also enjoy camping in the summer. It is important to follow the park’s rules for the use and extinguishing of campfires. The Fire Marshall’s Office urges all who enjoy the use of Connecticut’s parks and open spaces to use caution and practice fire prevention especially during the Spring and Summer seasons. Please obey all local laws regarding open fires and completely extinguish all smoking materials.
Connecticut traditionally experiences high brush fire danger from March through August. The Division of Forestry constantly monitors the danger of forest fire to help protect Connecticut’s 1.8 million acres of forested land. Throughout the season, the Division sends daily advisories on fire danger levels to state forest field staff, municipalities, fire departments and the media. Fire danger levels are classified at:
- Very High
If you have received a permit from your local Fire Marshall to burn brush on your property, the permit is not valid if the Fire Danger is rated high, very high or extreme.
In an average year, brush fires scorch approximately 1,300 acres of Connecticut woodland. If you spot a brush fire, remain calm, go to the nearest telephone and dial 911 to report the fire as quickly as possible. Calmly tell the emergency dispatcher when you saw it and where you saw it. Stay on the telephone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
For Connecticut homeowners, the following safety steps are suggested:
- Clean flammable vegetation and debris from at least 30 feet around the house and any outbuildings to create a “fire safe zone” as evergreens catch fire easily during dry periods and burn quickly
- Remove any limbs that overhang the roof or chimney
- Regularly remove leaves and needles from gutters
- Don’t store firewood in the “fire safe zone”
- Use fire resistant roofing materials
- Make sure firefighters can find your home by marking your house and roads clearly
- Follow state and local open burning laws
- Stay with outside fires until they are completely out and safe
- Dispose of wood ashes in a metal bucket, soaking them with water before dumping them
Summertime should be a time for fun and making happy memories. Knowing a few fire safety tips and following instructions will help everyone have a safe summer.