By Del Albright, Retired Fire Chief
TO: ALL Summer Recreationists; especially my motorized/Jeep/OHV friends, please take heed of these wildfire prevention tips from our friends at ModernJeeper.
1. MUFFLERS/SPARK ARRESTORS: This should not be a question — equip your rig/Jeep the right way and do not be the cause of a wildfire with an inadvertent spark or blast of hot carbon from your muffler.
2. STAY ON THE TRAIL: Most trails are well used enough that it’s safe to travel without fear of starting a fire — if you stay on the trail (and make sure you adhere to #1 above). If you have to legally pull over, do not do it in a dry grassy area where hot pipes can ignite fuels.
3. TAKE CARE WITH CAMPFIRES: Western fire season restrictions usually curtail campfires, but if you are in an area where a small campfire is OK, FOLLOW all the rules of your fire permit and common sense that says avoid windy days, clear a big enough space around the campfire site, have water, shovel and even a fire extinguisher handy, and never leave a campfire unattended. Cool off (water) any unattended campfire you come across.
4. REPORT UNEXPLAINED SMOKE: If you see smoke off in the distance, report it. That means you should have radio/cell communications capable of letting you save the day.
5. OBEY LAND MANAGER RULES: If your USFS/BLM/State recreation area has fire restrictions you should go out of your way to obey them — completely. Don’t try to “cheat” and just have a “little campfire” where it’s not allowed. You could be the next headlines in the social media and press.
6. DO YOUR PART: If you live or have a cabin in the wildlands, do your part to clear your fire defense space according to your local fire department. Do not let something spread from your property onto our recreational lands.
7. WELDING: It’s great that so many of us are handy with tools and welders for trail repairs. Heck, I have an under-hood welder in my Jeep at all times. BUT…welding starts a lot of fires. Use extreme caution and fire standby gear if you HAVE to weld. Clear an area. Put someone on fire watch. Have your shovel, fire extinguisher and water within reach.
8. SMOKING:Smoke in cleared areas or in your vehicle. Dispose of butts and smokes in a water cup or enclosed container.
9. FIREWORKS: Probably a no-no in almost all forested (and some desert) areas. They are just not a good idea, period, during fire season. Follow and obey all local laws and rules governing fireworks.
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