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cuskit

Flames on the Fourth

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A new member brought up a very important point today. He was asking for some safety tips for having a fire on the fourth, burning some firewood for ambiance and atmosphere. We also start a couple of campfires each year once the evening gets on, and I thought this is a good time to ask all members to be careful, pay attention to any fires they may have going and not let things get out of control on such a party weekend. As an EMT for about twenty years, I've come across many scenes on festive occasions where too much drink, young kids and fires all combined with not such happy results. I'll let it go there rather than get into some morbid tales of what I've experienced, but would like to caution all to take a moment to assess any situation that could escalate into an issue. So, Happy Fourth to All, and enjoy your upcoming weekend!

 

I'll duplicate the response I gave this new member - it should give all pause to stop and think a bit.

 

 

Top Ten Pieces of Advice for a 4th of July Fireside Pleasure!

 

1. Place the fire as close to the side of your house as possible (good windbreak)

 

2. Be sure to use gasoline as a "lighter fluid", keeping the can very close by in case you need a second squirt.

 

3. I've found that chairs with cloth and vinyl cushions are the best to sit on while viewing the fire - especially when you move them in a tight circle as close to flames as possible - to keep the seats warm.

 

4. Make sure you all take a long walk around the neighborhood once the fire is at full flame, flying sparks and erupting cinders are a good indication to take a long walk until things cool down a bit. Hopefully it will be a very windy day - this helps fan those huge flames nicely. And also, your cloth and vinyl chairs will also help to catch those sparks and cinders before they can do any real damage to the house.

 

5. Don't be afraid to cook over the fire to save messing up your grill. A quick and easy "disposable" grate can be weaved out of small tree branches, placed right on the fire itself it will give good sear marks on your steaks and burgers. Again - take a long walk while they cook, the wooden grate will take a bit longer to sear your steak than normal metal ones. By the time you get back from a half hour walk you should find a perfectly grilled steak.

 

6. Don't be one of those "wusses" that feel a fire extinguisher needs to be close at hand. A normal fire built out of tree trunks (especially if it is green wood) does not require suppressant systems. Hopefully your tree is a very sticky, sappy pine tree. These really spark and send out beautiful flames for quite some distance. Too pretty to ever squirt with a fire extinguisher if some "lame" guest starts to get nervous - better to hide the extinguisher under your work bench in the far end of the garage on the other side of the house under lock and key and kept off the premises for safety reasons.

 

7. Be sure to invite all the younger kids to play "fire games". Nothing is more exciting and fun to watch as young'uns grabbing flaming branches and hurling them at each other. You'd be amazed at the show of dexterity they have as they try to avoid getting hit. And hopefully they'll be dressed in lots of layers of loose clothing - this being the best to avoid the clothes catching fire. And kids are best left alone while playing with fire - good time for all the adults to go inside and enjoy a few drinks - leaving the kids alone to enjoy the "flame throwing" without dull adults constantly trying to spoil their fun.

 

8. A good way to add color to the fire is to throw all your garbage into the flames. Plastic plates, cups, forks, etc. are really great for making outstanding and brilliant colors! Also - those plastic grocery bags are also spectacular for inducing not only good color, but some awesome odors also! Let the kids do this - they'll be very pleased to show off how close they can get to the fire while dumping large handfuls of plastic, fiberglass - even your dirty linens from the tables! Why waste time trying to wash them the next day when they can be useful for maintaining a good fire.

 

9. Be sure everyone sits downwind of the smoke that hopefully billows out from the fire. The aroma smells wonderful, and especially if the smoke is that nice dark stuff you will hopefully retain the smell in your clothes for weeks. And of course - clean tree burning wood is known to be very healthy for your lungs - breathe through your mouth to take even more advantage of the aromatic pleasures of your fire. By the way - this is a good time to impress your neighbors with your fire building prowess! Keep that smoke billowing so that hopefully it wanders into their open windows so they can indulge in all those wonderful aromas also. If you have any old tires laying around - these are especially a good fuel to make some awesome smoke. Pile them high over the fire and have fun.

 

10. When you are finally done and the party is over and everyone is heading home - don't be a spoil sport and douse the fire with buckets of water. That's about as lame as you can get. Who cares if there are still a few smoldering pieces of wood left? In fact - a good idea is to park your car on top of the remnants of your fire overnight. The residual heat left from those smoldering cinders are all that's needed to keep your car warm and cozy so when you leave for work the next day you'll do so in comfort.

 

 

Disclaimer: Of course - you realize these points are all a BAD! Don't make them your BAD! Do just the opposite and you should be fine. Good luck and have fun - a safe fun that is!

 

Mike

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