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Extreme heat can contribute to summer blazes

Prevention is one of the keys to fire prevention.
Prevention is one of the keys to fire safety. - Contributed

When it comes to fire prevention, safety is always key, but certain times of the year call for extra precautions.

Kent Mitchell, a fire inspector with the Charlottetown Fire Department, said during the summer months, extreme heat can be a concern.

Because heat brings drier conditions, Mitchell said smokers should pay attention when butting out their cigarettes.

Earlier this month, a three-unit apartment building in Marshfield burned down, and results from the investigation determined the fire originated from a can on the back deck that was being used to dispose of cigarettes.

“We’re just trying to raise awareness that if you do have a cigarette, that could cause a fire,” Mitchell said. “At Christmastime it’s trees; this time of year it’s vegetation fires, grass fires, that sort of thing.”

As for outdoor fires, Mitchell said right now only recreational bonfires are permitted.

“There’s no open burning allowed right now.”

The extreme heat is more taxing on electrical equipment and systems as well, he said.

“You can have different types of issues – motors burning out and smoking, that kind of stuff, and on the electrical systems in your house, too, it’s just harder on everything.”
One example of this was when the fire department received a call recently of a cell phone catching on fire while it was inside a vehicle.

“It was just from the heat, the extreme heat causes other issues,” he said. “So it’s lots of things like that to think about.”

Cigarette disposal safety tips:

- When throwing away butts and ashes, make sure they are completely put out.

- Dousing in water or sand is the best way to make sure butts and ashes are out.

- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray and place it away from anything that can burn.

- Do not discard cigarettes in mulch, landscaping, dried grasses, or other anything else that could ignite easily.

Source: Fire Marshal’s Office

Recreational Fires rules:

- The non-commercial burning of materials in which the fuel burned is not contained in the incinerator, a barbecue grill, or a barbeque pit, and the total fuel area is not exceeding 1 meter (3 ft.) in diameter and .6096 meter (2 ft.) in height.

- Recreational fires shall not be located within 7.62 meters (25 ft.) of a structure or combustible material

- Recreational fires shall be constantly attended by a competent person until such fire is extinguished.

- The presence of a competent person who has access to a readily available fire extinguishing equipment and knowledge of how to use that equipment is important to maintaining a safe recreational fire.

- This person shall have a garden hose connected to water supply or other fire extinguishing equipment readily available for use.

- Outdoor fire places shall be maintained in good repair and in a safe condition at all time, also it shall be provided with an approved spark arrester, screen, or door.

- Outdoor fires places shall not be used for the disposal of rubbish, trash, or combustible waste materials.

Outdoor fire places cannot be placed on combustible decks or apartment balconies.

- Recreational fireplaces must be extinguished if smoke causes an unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of another person’s property.

- Recreational fires shall not be used in windy conditions. When burning use only dry seasoned wood.

- Do not burn, garbage, rubbish, twigs, green wood etc.

Source: Charlottetown Fire Department

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