The long summer days and warm nights make room for more outdoor activities like running in the sprinkler, evening chats on the patio, and lounging in hammocks. Engaging in outdoor activities is how most of us spend the summer months with our families. While we are limiting our interactions to our immediate household, it is still important to be prepared and keep safety in mind when spending time outdoors, especially when it comes to fires and BBQs.

Outdoor campfires are a popular way to celebrate a summer evening. Taking a little extra caution is well worth it with an outdoor fire whether it is in the backyard or the open woods. Have fun while being safe. In Woodinville Fire and Rescue’s District, outdoor burning regulations allow outdoor fires if they are in a designated fire pit, container, or device. These small recreational fires cannot have flames that exceed three feet in height and three feet in diameter. Make sure you have a hose or a proper way to extinguish the fire close by. It is always a good idea to talk to your neighbors about any recreational fire, they may have medical conditions that are sensitive to smoke. Always keep open flames 10 feet away from houses, structures, and vegetation. Never burn green wood, construction waste, plastic, garbage, or yard waste. These materials create more smoke and can be toxic. Lastly, make sure the fire is completely put out before leaving it unattended. Never leave a fire to die out on its own.

July is the peak month for grill fires, which includes barbecues and hibachis. As with recreational fires, keep grills at least 10 feet away from siding, decking, and other things that catch fire. Before you start using a gas grill, always make certain the connections on the hose lines are tightly secured, there are no leaks and your grill is on a flat, stable surface. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 10,600 home structures and outdoor fires involving grills per year between 2014 and 2018. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage annually. Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never barbecue in an enclosed area because dangerous carbon monoxide can accumulate and be deadly. Remove grease or fat buildup from both the grill and the tray below the grill. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely cool off before disposing of them in a metal container.

If you are enjoying a family gathering with a grill or a recreational fire, you should never leave a hot surface or open flame unattended. This is especially true if you have young children, they may not realize the danger of fire and get too close. Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of sand close to douse the fire in case it gets out of hand. If you can’t put it out quickly, call 911. These safety tips can help prevent unmanageable fires, injuries, and more. Together we can have a safe and fun summer.

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