Commentary: Fire Department encourages safety with summer fires

Southington Fire Department Headquarters
310 North Main Street, P.O. Box 289, Southington, CT 06489
(860) 621-3202

Summer is here. For many residents, the warmer weather provides the perfect time to spend outdoors—a time to build camp fires, roast hot dogs and make s’mores. In a press release, the Southington Fire Department said that they want residents to have fun cooking outdoors, but they encourage caution when enjoying recreational and outdoor cooking fires.

“The Southington Fire Department would like to remind residents to put safety first when outdoors with cooking and recreational fires,” interim fire chief Eric Heath said in the release. “Be aware of your surroundings, know where children are at all times, and have a responsible adult designated to the fire area.”

The Southington Fire Department provides the following guidance to residents before they begin cooking outdoors or enjoying recreational fires:

  • Put safety first. Designate a person, 18 years or older, who will attend to the fire at all times.
  • Make sure there is adequate fire suppression equipment (i.e., shovels, properly rated fire extinguishers or a garden hose) accessible at all times while the fire is burning.
  • Burn only clean dry wood. Leaves, grass, trash, treated or painted wood, rubber, plastic, textiles or petroleum based materials, and flammable or combustible liquids should not be placed in the fire.
  • Consider the wind conditions prior to cooking outdoors or making recreational fires. Be considerate of neighboring property owners.
  • Never start a cooking fire or a recreational fire if the forest fire danger is “high,” “very high,” or “extreme.”

The following regulations apply to all residents:

  • Cooking and recreational fires are permitted between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight. All fires must be extinguished by midnight.
  • All outdoor cooking and recreational fires must be kindled in an approved commercially or privately manufactured outdoor recreational fire appliance (i.e., fireplace, fire pit, fire pit table or fire ring).
  • A hand dug fire pit must be at least one foot below grade with no more than a four foot outside diameter. The outside edge shall be ringed with brick or stone.
  • Cooking and recreational fires shall be no closer than 15 feet from any building, structure, shed, garage, trees, shrubs, bush, fence or any other combustible material.
  • Recreational fire appliances shall not be located on wooden or composite decks.
  • Flames of cooking or recreational fires should not exceed three feet above a fire pit.

“The Southington Fire Department would like to remind residents to be considerate of their neighbors,” Heath said in the release. “We receive calls often during this time of year regarding outdoor cooking and recreational fires. If a fire is determined unsafe, residents will be asked to extinguish it immediately.”

Put safety first this summer.

For more information, contact the Southington Fire Department at (860) 621-3202. For fire emergencies, dial 911.

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