GREENVILLE — Summer fun can include bonfires.
While roasting marshmallows and hot dogs are enjoyable, adhering to campfire safety rules can prevent injuries and or deaths. Due to two Darke County incidents where children have been seriously burned, a two-year-old boy from Union City on May 21 and an 11-year-old boy from Versailles on June 3, the release of a public service announcement from the Darke County Fire Chief’s Association and the Darke County Sheriff’s Office was issued out of grave concern.
The main message is: Do not use gasoline to start recreational fires!
According to the news release, in both incidents the children were innocent bystanders when others attempted to start a bonfire with gasoline, and in both cases the gasoline was used during the fire starting process.
“Once the fire was ignited it traveled the path of the vapors and liquid which led to the gasoline container in the hands of the subjects trying to start the fire,” the release read. “This immediately caused a panic to throw away the container. In both incidents the children were nearby when the burning containers were thrown and either were hit with the burning container or splashed with the burning gasoline liquid.”
What makes gasoline dangerous for such uses is its low flash point of -45 degrees F, meaning it will put off an ignitable vapor. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can easily travel to ignitable sources low to the ground. In addition gasoline vapors and liquids are readily absorbed into fabrics making clothing flammable during spills and contact with the liquid, according to the news release.
Safe ways to start fires include: lighting ordinary combustibles, like small dry kindling wood with a match; using lighter fluids and gels that have much higher flash temperatures and using fire – starting sticks designed for this purpose. In addition, the news release advised: only adults should start recreational fires; closely supervise children at all times; start camp fires in controlled outdoor environments, utilizing approved fire pits that can better contain the fire; never leave fires unattended and properly extinguish them.
Here is some additional information from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency:
The following items can never be burned at any time or any place in Ohio: food waste; dead animals; and materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or made from petroleum. Other restrictions include: fires must be more than 1,000 feet from neighbor’s inhabited building; no burning when air pollution alert, warning, or emergency is in effect; fire/smoke cannot obscure visibility on roadway, railways, or airfields; no burning of waste generated off the premises and no burning within village/city limits or restricted areas.
For more information on open burning regulations, visit http://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/47/facts/openburn.pdf