teaser

Opinion: Be careful with campfires

The only safe fire to leave is one that is completely out and cold to the touch.

Over the weekend, I was bicycling on the North Douglas Highway, where it runs along Fritz Cove. I saw a small column of smoke on the side near the water, stopped and found a campfire, flames coming from unburned firewood and scorched vegetation around it. No one was nearby. I dumped my water bottle on it, retrieved another gallon bucket and managed to reduce it to steam, dumped more water on it and then spread all remaining fuel in a safe manner..

Why, after all the fires in the Western states, is anyone so irresponsible with a campfire? Why did someone leave this one burning but completely unattended? It may not have been likely to spread, but it could have, and the person who made it drove off with no idea how quickly a fire can spread on a dry and windy day. I learned as a child many years ago that the only safe fire to leave is one that is soaked to the point of no remaining heat, no embers and that all fuel has been removed.

We were lucky this one did not spread. I hope that everyone who builds a fire, even on the edge of the water, follows the rule that the only safe fire to leave is one that is completely out and cold to the touch.

Douglas Mertz,

Juneau

Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

More in Letters to the Editor

Most Read