Prevent Grass Fires

West Columbia Volunteer Fire Department - Preventing Grass Fires

Don't throw cigarette or cigar butts on the ground or out of a vehicle. Dispose of them properly and make sure they are completely extinguished.

Do not burn trash, leaves or brush outdoors; there is a permanent burn ban in the City of West Columbia and during certain times of the year bans are implemented in many outlying areas.

Keep a 30-foot "safety zone" surrounding the home clear of brush and cedar, especially for those living in a woodland area. Grass should be cut short in this area as well. Stack firewood at least 15 feet and uphill from the home.

Rake leaves, cut off dead limbs and twigs, and mow grass regularly. Cut tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground and remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

Don't park cars, trucks, or recreational vehicles on dry grass or shrubs. Exhaust systems on vehicles can reach a temperature of more than 1000 degrees; it only takes about 500 degrees to start a brush fire in the summer.

Use an approved spark arrester on all internal combustion engine-powered equipment. This special muffler helps ensure that sparks generated by off-road vehicles, chainsaws and other equipment don't start wildfires. Check and replace spark arresters periodically.

Maintain equipment in good working order.

Parents should emphasize to their children the dangers of playing with fire. Many grass fires are started by children who have no idea how quickly flames can grow and spread.

Homeowners who barbecue should maintain a 10-foot area free of brush and shrubbery around grills and propane tanks. Non-flammable screens should be placed over the grill (with mesh no coarser than 1/4 inch thick). Never leave a grill unattended. After use, place grill ashes in a metal bucket and soak in water.

Keep a shovel, bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or other fire suppression tools on hand.