Irvine Ranch Conservancy aims to protect and maintain the health and safety of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks all year round. Fourth of July fireworks are a popular activity during holiday celebrations, but can also create dangerous fire hazards, not only among the Landmarks and surrounding habitats, but to homes, people, pets and more.
In addition to fireworks, everyday items like charcoal barbeques can also pose potential wildfire danger. When hosting your backyard BBQ this Fourth of July, be sure to follow some simple guidelines before firing up the grill. Before lighting the coals, make sure your barbeque is set up away from any structures, low hanging branches or dry brush. If your grill is on a porch, deck or terrace, keep fire extinguishers nearby in case of falling embers or sparks. Don’t forget to clean your grill to remove any grease build-up and never leave a lit grill unattended!
Other barbeque tips to keep in mind include checking for gas leaks, taking precaution when using starter fluid and wearing appropriate clothing while grilling. In the event something goes wrong, always be ready to put out a fire. Having baking soda on hand will help control a grease fire. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
Another fun Fourth of July activity is enjoying a simple backyard fire pit or campfire. Gathering friends and family around the fire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores is a delicious way to end your Fourth of July celebration, but when you use a fire pit, you are literally playing with fire. Whether using a portable or permanent fire pit, positioning is the first key to fire safety. Make sure your fire pit is a minimum of 10 feet away from any structure or neighboring yard and look for any low hanging branches above. Always place the fire pit on a non-flammable surface.
When lighting your fire pit, take wind direction into account and remove anything flammable that might be downwind. If it’s too windy, do not light your fire pit. Using lighter fluid might be a go-to for most people when lighting a fire pit, but flammable fluids increase the chance of an out-of-control fire. Using a commercial fire starter stick is ideal. Be sure to never leave a fire pit unattended and use a wire mesh cover to keep embers inside and help prevent children or pets from falling in. When extinguishing your fire pit, drown the fire in water and stir it with a shovel to be sure it’s fully extinguished. Store the ashes in a safe manner by keeping a metal can that is used only for ash storage.
The Fourth of July is a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate, but be sure to do so in a safe manner and help protect our local habitats. No matter how you celebrate, always stay alert and report any sign of fire by calling 911 immediately.
Begin your holiday morning with a self-guided hike at one of the many trails found on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and enjoy a local community firework show in the evening. Irvine Ranch Conservancy wishes you a happy and safe Fourth of July!