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Living Green

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Environmental Health

Earth Month 2010

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Tips to prevent man-made fires

Many people lose their homes and some lose their lives due to man-made fires. Fires aren't good for the planet either. All the smoke, dust and ashes are really harmful to our planet, and it is up to us to help the environment and prevent things we can control, like man-made fires.

Causes of man-made fires

Cigarettes. Most man-made fires are started when a cigarette isn't put out properly. If you smoke a cigarette in an area that is fire prone, use an ashtray for your ashes and put the cigarette in water when you are finished with it. Never throw your cigarette out the window, you may spark a fire. If you smoke a cigarette in a forest, never put your cigarette out on a stump or in the grass. Also, remember not to throw away your matches without first putting them i nwater.

Fuel leakage from cars. If you go camping, park your car in an area away from trees and dry spots in the forest. Fluid or fuel leakage from your car can start a fire.

Proper camp site. If you want to make a campfire near your campsite, make sure the location is made for camp fires. Never build a fire next to leaves or dry stumps. Put all flammables such as newspapers and spare wood facing opposite of the wind so they don't accidentally catch on fire. When you put the camp fire out, douse the fire as much as you can, and don't discard matches that may still be lit.

Fireworks. On holidays such as the 4th of July, don't use fireworks near a campsite or an area with dry brush. Fires can spread very quickly when a spark or flame touches a dry area.

Cooking at a campsite can be very dangerous. It is important that the fire is watched closely by a responsible person.

Home fires. Forest fires can start at your home as well. If you live near a forest, don't put up wooden fences or wooden shingles. Wood catches on fire easily and if it is windy, a fire can spread and turn into a wild fire. You can also reduce the risk of a house fire by keeping flammable materials in a safe place away from children. If you live in a secluded area, make sure all your smoke detectors are properly installed and that the fire department can easilly locate your house.

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