Health & Safety

March 21, 2014

Fire season here, think ‘safety’ outdoors

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Maranda Flynn
Staff Writer

In May 2013, U.S. Forest Service personnel successfully conducted a 13-acre controlled burn in an area located between Ranges 8 and 9 on Fort Huachuca. These controlled burns take place in fire-prone areas in an effort to reduce the amount of dry grass and brush that can feed wildfires.

Spring is here, bringing with it the warm, dry season which brings people outdoors for leisure activities. Unfortunately, the arid climate in Southern Arizona can easily put a damper on the fun if people don’t keep fire prevention and safety in mind at all times. In conjunction with the Coronado National Forest (Sierra Vista District), the Fort Huachuca Fire Danger is being increased to “HIGH” — Yellow color — no open fires and only limited to established pits and barbecues.

Brush and vegetation is quickly drying out. This creates the right conditions in which wildfires start and spread quickly. Most often, fires are started by humans, and can be prevented. To avoid the unexpected, follow these important tips:

  • Do not throw lit cigarettes outside of a vehicle
  • Never leave campsite or picnic fires unattended
  • Ensure outdoor fires are completely extinguished before leaving the area
  • Avoid parking vehicles in tall grass or brushy areas
  • Immediately pick up and discard broken glass to avoid magnification fires
  • Allow hot coals to cool completely before discarding in a trash receptacle
  • Keep a fire extinguisher available while camping or in the home
  • Follow all instructions when using a grill or outside cooking device
  • Store propane in a cool, dark area, outside of the home
  • When using fire pits, keep covered and use away from the house
  • If a fire is spotted, regardless of size, immediately call 911 to report it

On Fort Huachuca, fire conditions are posted in five locations: the Sportsman Center, at the Main and East Gates, and at the entrances of Huachuca and Garden Canyons.

Depending on the conditions, other restrictions may apply. Always check the current conditions prior to an outdoor activity as weather conditions can change at any time. To verify, call the Fort Huachuca Fire Dispatch, 533.2116, or visit the Coronado National Forest website, http://fs.usda.gov/coronado.

Fort Huachuca’s new fire chief, Brad Nicholson, Directorate of Emergency Services, reminds the community that while day and night camping is a popular activity at this time of year, certain procedures must be followed before entering the canyons. Campers must inform Fire Dispatch to let them know where they are going and when, how many are in their party, what the intentions of the visit are, and if a camp fire is planned. When the visit is over, campers must inform Fire Dispatch of their departure.

For non-emergency fire safety and prevention questions, call Fort Huachuca Fire Dispatch, 533.2116.




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