We seem to be talking about fire safety more and more these days. The dryer our climate gets, the more serious the problem. It is important that all employees are aware of their responsibilities to prevent fires. Talk about fire prevention and safety in your safety meetings. Let everybody know where the fire extinguishers are located. As of writing this article, Coconino, Coronado, Tonto, and Prescott National Forests are under stage-one fire restrictions, as well as state lands in almost every county.
Most Fires require three elements to burn – Fuel, Oxygen, and Heat. If one of these elements is removed, the fire cannot start.
Since fuel is the easiest element to remove, concentrate on clean up. Dispose of scrap before it becomes fuel for fire. Store flammables properly, keep combustibles away from all heating devices or heat sources. Shut engines off and allow them to cool before refueling. Remove vegetation around your area if you are welding or doing any hot work. Assigning a fire watch person and pre-wetting are good ideas.
Remember – We need to “walk the walk” when it comes to fire safety. Remind fellow employees to act safely, and do the right thing. Look out for the employees that are struggling or who are new to the industry and help “coach ‘em up”.
Stage-One fire restrictions guidelines are as follows:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, except within a developed recreation site; 36 CFR § 261.52(a).
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a developed recreation site; 36 CFR § 261.52(d).
- Using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.
- Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of any organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
Local municipal fire restrictions (Prescott, Prescott Valley, Town of Chino Valley, etc.) are largely the same as the forest restrictions listed above. For your reference, local restrictions are as follows:
Stage I Restrictions
- No Residential Burn Permits will be issued.
- No smoking outside of vehicles, outside of residential yards, or outside of designated smoking areas. No discarding of smoking materials without first insuring that they are fully extinguished.
- No outside open-flame, ash-producing, cooking, warming, or campfires fueled by wood, charcoal, or other ordinary combustibles at undeveloped public or private property sites.
- Exception: Private residences.
- Cooking, warming, or camp fires are still allowed in developed campgrounds, picnic sites, single-family residences and certain multi-family occupancies.
- The use of propane, natural gas or other gas flame producing barbecue cooking devices may be used as long as they are constantly attended and are in an enclosed device.
- Use of model rockets is prohibited. Use of fireworks requires a special permit.
Please remember these restrictions on your project. It may be a good idea to have some extra fire extinguishers on hand for any cutting/welding/hot work that may need to be done.