Car­bon­ear Fire Chief ad­vises cau­tion with fires dur­ing camp­ing sea­son

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

With the May 24th week­end coming up, Brent Sweeney of the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment re­minds campers to keep fire safety on the fore­front of their minds.

The Vic­to­ria Day long week­end is a favourite among New­found­lan­ders, who of­ten like to spend the week­end camp­ing with friends and fam­ily.

In the wake of a re­cent brush fire in Fresh­wa­ter, Sweeney urges ev­ery­one to take ex­tra care with fires dur­ing the up­com­ing week­end, as amongst all the fun is a height­ened risk of camp­fires and bon­fires get­ting out of hand, says Sweeney.

“Ev­ery­one loves to get away for the long week­end, and right­fully so,” Sweeney told The Com­pass, “but it’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to re­mem­ber that fire safety should be one of their top pri­or­i­ties when they’re out camp­ing, or at their cab­ins.”

Sweeney ex­plained there are some fairly sim­ple things peo­ple can do be­fore camp­ing that can help pre­vent many dan­ger­ous ac­ci­dents.

Some of th­ese things in­clude hav­ing ap­pli­ances like heaters and fur­naces inside cab­ins checked by cer­ti­fied tech­ni­cians be­fore be­ing put to use af­ter months of be­ing dor­mant, or mak­ing sure any fire pits are con­tained and not open for the fire to spread through dead grass, trees, or other dry plant life.

An­other note Sweeney made was for campers to make sure they al­ways carry fire es­sen­tials with them on camp­ing trips. He says that th­ese in­clude ex­tra buck­ets or other con­tain­ers of wa­ter, an axe, a shovel, and of course, com­mon sense.

“All fire pits should be near some kind of wa­ter source,” added Sweeney. “A small fire can be re­lax­ing when you’re out camp­ing, but it can eas­ily get out of hand. That’s why peo­ple need to al­ways be on their toes, be­cause you never know what might hap­pen.”

Some­thing like a small fire can be eas­ily main­tained and con­tained in a safe en­vi­ron­ment, but once it be­comes a prob­lem, Sweeney says the fire depart­ment needs to be on the scene.

“Camp­fires are easy to con­trol in the right cir­cum­stances,” ex­plained Sweeney. “But if some­one is be­ing care­less, and the fire gets out of hand, then we here at the fire depart­ment need to get in­volved. And if we need to be in the woods deal­ing with a mis­take like that, that means we’ve got a smaller team to an­swer calls for even big­ger, more dan­ger­ous calls like a house fire. That can all be eas­ily avoided if peo­ple just be care­ful.”

The Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment does not only deal with calls re­lat­ing to fires, and Sweeney says that campers need to be care­ful when it comes to al­co­hol con­sump­tion as well.

“Drink­ing and driv­ing is al­ways an is­sue as well,” Sweeney added. “Peo­ple driv­ing ATVs with­out a hel­met, af­ter hav­ing a few beer, that’s just as dan­ger­ous, and not to men­tion very il­le­gal, and I think some­times peo­ple tend to for­get that.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Brent Sweeney of the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment warns that fires need to be care­fully main­tained at all times.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

A brush fire in Fresh­wa­ter on Sun­day, May 7, re­quired the help of a wa­ter bomber to douse the flames.

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