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News | July 18, 2022

Think fire safety this summer!

By Jamie MacFarlane, Fire Inspector Fire and Emergency Services, DLA Installation Management Richmond

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond, Virginia’s Fire Prevention Office would like to remind everyone that with summer fun comes summer hazards. With many people couped up for the last couple years, many are now feeling comfortable meeting up in groups and starting to get back together. If you have a gathering that includes outside fire pits or bon fires, make sure to check your local ordinances to see if you are allowed to have an open fire in your area.

A bonfire requires a written permit obtained from Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Fire and Life Safety Division. The permit is valid for day of bonfire only.

Recreational fires are allowed without permits if:

  • The fuel is clean wood only.
  • The fire is 25 feet from a structure or combustible material.
  • The fire is no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.

On Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, outside fires are strongly prohibited except in the camping area in designated locations.

Some other fire safety tips when enjoying recreational fires are, do not add flammable liquids to a fire or near a fire. Adding gasoline or flammable liquids to an active fire can rapidly intensify the fire and increase rapid fire spread. Keep the area around the fire clear of debris and tripping hazards. This will assist in maintaining the fire in the localized area and keep people from tripping and burning themselves. Always be prepared to extinguish the fire by having a (water hose, fire extinguisher, etc.). If you do extinguish the fire, do not leave it unattended any longer than 30 minutes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the month of July typically has the most grill fires, accounting for around 20% of all grill fires nationwide. To limit these risks, make sure to clean your grill after each use. The most common reason grills catch on fire is because the grill has not been cleaned and the remaining grease catches on fire. More than one-quarter of the home grill structure fires were caused by uncleanliness. An unclean grill can lead to bigger problems and even catch your home on fire.

NFPA data shows most structure fires involving grills happen on open porches or balconies. When you are cooking with your grill on a balcony or porch, make sure to have a three-foot safe zone keeping it away from deck railing and siding. This three-foot safe zone will also help to prevent pets and children from getting too close to the grill. Be sure to inspect the hose and fittings for gas leaks on gas grills. Gas leaks and gas line breaks are some of the most common reasons for gas grill fires. When you light your gas grill, make sure that the cover is open. Make sure not to let the gas run too long before lighting it. If you are not sure if the gas has been on for too long, shut it off and let the gas dissipate and then try again. If you are using charcoal, make sure that you do not add more fuel to the fire once you have it lit. Most important: Never leave your grill unattended.

If you are holding an event on DSCR and using a grill in one of the designated areas, please contact the Fire Prevention Office at (804) 279-6782. One of our staff will come inspect the area making sure it’s fire safe. On completion we will issue a hot work permit good for the duration of your cooking … Finally, the DLA Richmond Fire Prevention staff wishes everyone a happy and safe summer.