Pinellas County is asking residents to use additional caution to prevent wildfires over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.
With the summer months upon us, grilling and fire pits are in full swing. The extended holiday weekend also brings a large number of visitors to Pinellas County parks and preserves. Following dry conditions and warm temperatures, the county is still vulnerable to wildfires.
“Despite recent rain, we know there is fire danger,” said Craig Hare, director of Pinellas County EMS and Fire Administration. “We’re asking people to take extra care. An escaped fire from a recreational grill or fire pit can threaten lives, property and natural resources.”
Make safe outdoor cooking a priority:
- Make sure that all grills are placed at least 10 feet away from any structures.
- Deck railings, awnings, overhanging branches and other things can catch fire.
- Never grill on a condo or apartment balcony.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill when it’s hot.
- Stay with the grill the entire time you’re cooking.
- Keep your grill clean so leftover grease and fat won’t catch on fire.
Permanent and portable fire pits can bring fire danger to your home if not used properly. Prevent fire or burn injury with these simple steps:
- Make sure the fire pit is at least 15 feet away from your house and anything that can burn.
- Ensure that children and pets are kept a safe distance away.
- Never leave any fire unattended.
- Use a metal screen over wood-burning fires to keep sparks from floating out.
- Make sure all fires are completely extinguished after use.
- Store matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.
When visiting local parks and outdoor spaces, follow these simple steps:
- Restrict vehicles to paved roadways and parking lots. Hot engines and exhaust pipes could start a fire in tall grass.
- Fully extinguish smoking products (cigarettes and cigars) and only discard in approved fire safe containers.
- Only use park-supplied grills at county picnic shelters. Only use charcoal briquettes or propane in personal grills at campsites. Do not place hot coals on the ground or in trash cans, and fully extinguish coals before leaving.
- Do not start open fires. Restrict fires to campfire rings or other approved structures.
- Do not burn trash wood or combustible materials.
- Sale, purchase or use of fireworks that project into the air or explode is illegal. To report illegal use of fireworks, call your city’s law enforcement non-emergency number. A list of law enforcement non-emergency phone numbers is available at www.pinellascounty.org/publicsafety/pdf/Contacts.pdf. Residents should call 911 only in the event of an emergency.
Information courtesy of Pinellas County. Learn more at www.pinellascounty.org/