Summertime is all about having fun outside and enjoying lazy braais (bbq’s) with friends or chatting late into the night around a boma (fire pit). But in the summer months the temperatures can soar and the vegetation gets very dry. A stray spark could be fatal.
These 6 summer safety tips will help you to stay safe and prevent causing wildfires that can cause a lot of havoc and destruction.
Never store any flammable liquids like lighter fluid or petrol close to an open fire. It is easy for a stray spark or flame to ignite these materials.
Size & the area matters
Summers by the beach might conjure up romantic images of a roaring bonfire, starry nights with waves crashing in the background. However appealing this may sound, it is safer to keep a smaller fire under control. You are also not allowed to make a fire just anywhere, check the local regulations before you start up a fire.
Fireproof your surroundings
Pick a spot where your fire won’t be able to spread and is free of debris like dried leaves or other flammable matter. If you are camping, set up your tents a distance from and downwind from where your braai area will be.
Keep a close eye
Never leave a roaring fire unattended. An unexpected wind can easily spread the flames and cause havoc within seconds!
Put it out properly
Always make sure that you have means close by to extinguish the fire. Keep plenty of water and a shovel close by. Make sure there are no glowing embers left behind and get rid of all ash and dirt when you leave. This, like another no-no…throwing a lit cigarette out of your car, can ignite dry vegetation and cause a raging wildfire.
If there is a fire
Fire needs oxygen to keep burning. If it so happens that you do accidently set yourself alight, stop in your tracks, drop down to the ground and roll. This will prevent the fire from spreading and immediately douse the flames. It is also advisable that you pack a first aid kit and keep it in your car when you are travelling, so don’t forget to include burn treatment ointment. Also make sure that you always know where the closest fire exit is and that you have the local fire department’s contact details at hand.
The Garden Route suffered great loss and devastation in 2017 when a wildfire got out of hand and burned down a part of the forest, many homes and businesses in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and destroyed lives.
Please make sure that you are extra careful when lighting fires during summer and adhere to these simple safety rules for the sake of your safety and our beautiful surroundings on the Garden Route.
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