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A burning question….

Aah, summer. Warm temps, beautiful starry nights, parties on patios, and a nice smoky fire to keep the bugs at bay. The only problem is many residents do not realize the regulations that restrict some of those fires.

First, fire safety cannot be understated. We had many accidental fires started because people just do not follow the simplest of rules. It only takes a moment for a fire to go from a nice cozy fire to 911 my house is on fire. Here are some simple rules…

  • DON’T do open burning. Not only are they illegal, they can get out of hand quickly.

  • DON’T have a fire on a windy day.

  • DON’T have a fire during dry spells or droughts.

  • DON’T have a fire close to structures, trees or bushes.

  • DON’T burn yard waste including leaves.

  • DON’T burn trash.

  • DON’T have large fires.

  • DON’T burn softwoods like pine and spruce. These woods have a tendency to crackle and pop but it’s the pop that sends sparks flying.

  • DON’T burn full pallets.

  • DON’T use gasoline to start a fire.

  • DON’T leave a fire unattended.

  • DON’T consume excess amounts of alcohol while tending fires. Alcohol encourages riskier behavior and makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do.

  • DO use chiminea’s or other approved “fire pit” devices with built-in spark arrestors (fire screens).

  • DO have a hose nearby.

  • DO keep fire pit areas well watered.

  • DO check with your local fire marshal to see if certain fires require permits.

One question we do hear frequently is what is considered “open burning”?

The NJ State Fire Prevention Code defines open burning as, “the burning of ANY materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber.” In other words, leave the campfires at the campgrounds but you can have chimineas and grills. NO bonfires!

While we do not purposely go out on “firewatch”, the police and fire departments receive calls from concerned neighbors or encounter blazes on normal patrols. If you have a visit from any of these great men and women, they are not being mean when they ask you to put out the fire; they’re looking out for your safety and the safety of our community.