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Safety Tips For Using Fire in Sterling Issued By Fire Marshal

May 23, 2014

In light of the recent Townhouse fire incident, Loudoun County Fire-Rescue issued a reminder to residents on safety precautions when using portable fireplaces, fire pits, fire bowls and chimeneas:

" The appliance should be placed at least 15 feet away from any home or residence, and away from nearby combustible materials, such as decks, exterior walls and plants or other outside decorative material so they do not ignite from radiant heat.

" Put the appliance on a level, non-combustible surface, such as stone, brick, or concrete. If it must be placed on grass or on any other combustible surface, place a fire resistant pad underneath the appliance and monitor it closely.

" By law, an adult who has a way to extinguish the fire readily available must attend any fire.

" The appliance is to be used within the manufacture's specifications, including the use of the sturdy screen to contain sparking or flying embers.

" Use seasoned hardwood as fuel for the fire. Avoid using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely generate more smoke, pop and throw sparks.

" Always let ashes cool before putting them into a closed metal container.

The metal container should be kept outside, a safe distance away from the home or any other structures.

" Teach kids how to be responsible when around these types of appliances, but always ensure an adult is present during their use.

" Prior to lighting the fire, evaluate wind conditions to see if it is safe and where the smoke will be blowing. Exercise the same precautions as you would with any open fire.

For more information on fire safety and prevention programs, contact the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office at 703-737-8600 or go to www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal.

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