As the weather gets warmer and people begin spending more time outdoors, we see an increase in brush fire calls. Many of these incidents are the result of outdoor burning, fire pits, camp fires and (on occasion) the use of grills. Brush fires can spread quickly and can be hard to control especially during dry spells with low humidity and prevailing winds. It is very important to understand that the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshals Office has established guidelines for outdoor fires and grilling. No open burning of trash, debris, waste or brush is permitted in Mecklenburg County (which includes the Town of Huntersville). The use of grills and commercial fire pits is allowed. We have everything listed for your reference on our Department’s Outdoor burning page. Below are some safety tips that can help ensure that your time outside doesn’t lead to a fire tragedy.
- Grills: Move the grill away from the house! Grills can melt siding, burn decking and start fires. Make sure your grill is clean and properly maintained. Be ready to ‘close the lid’ on a fire. The best way to extinguish an out of control fire is to take away the oxygen – simply close the lid immediately. When grilling, make sure you’re next to the grill the entire time and never leave it unattended. Remember, grilling on a covered apartment balcony is not permitted here. More Grill safety tips are included in the NFPA attached picture.
- Fire Pits: Keep fire pits at least 3 feet (we always recommend more…local fire code is 10 feet ) from anything combustible. Use a metal screen to keep sparks and embers from flying out of the fire. Extinguish the fire completely before leaving the area or going to bed. Heat can remain in ashes / coals for days. Do not assume it’s fully extinguished when you don’t see fire anymore.
- Camp Fires: Remember to extinguish your camp fire fully when going to bed or leaving the area. If possible, let the campfire burn down to ashes. Pour water on the fire to drown all embers, not just the red ones. Once this is done, stir everything in the pit with a shovel and test for heat with the back of your hand. More camp fire safety tips are included in the NFPA attached picture.
- Disposal of charcoal and ashes: Let the ash or charcoal cool for at least 48 hours. You can speed up this process by pouring water over the hot charcoal and stirring it very carefully. When the ash has cooled completely, wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in an noncombustible outdoor trash bin. The plastic roll-out waste bins here in Town are NOT noncombustible trash bins.
- Outdoor Fires: Only warming, cooking or recreational fires are permitted in Mecklenburg County. The burning of construction waste, trash, rubbish or engineered building materials is not permitted. More outdoor fire safety tips are included in the NFPA attached picture.