Fort Riley, Kansas



Minimize outdoor fire hazards during summer

By Julie Fiedler | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | July 25, 2014

Fire safety isn’t just for the home; and environmental fires don’t just happen in wilderness areas. While out and about, everyone has a responsibility to take steps to prevent fires.

The following tips are important to practice fire safety:


Flicking a cigarette butt out of a car window can wreak havoc.

Discarded cigarette butts account for a majority of wildfires in the western U.S., said Shawn Sullivan, assistant chief of prevention, Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services.

Drivers who smoke should use their car ashtray and never dump used butts out of windows.

Additionally, dumping cigarette butts on the ground is against regulation at Fort Riley and violators can be written up by FES personnel. Those who smoke at Fort Riley should use approved cigarette disposal receptacles.

“You’ll find (receptacles) in just about every facility,” Sullivan said. “A lot of times we see people disposing of trash in those receptacles, and we discourage that.”

If receptacles are not available, smokers should grind cigarette butts in the dirt or on concrete and ensure they are completely extinguished before throwing them away.

Smokers should never use stumps, logs or dry grass to put out cigarettes while smoking outdoors.


Many families take advantage of warmer weather to go camping during the summer. Such plans often include relaxing by campfires.

“Number one, never leave (campfires) unattended and never let kids or animals play around campfires,” Sullivan said. “Always make sure it’s extinguished before you leave and before you go to bed.”

Campers should also keep the following in mind:

Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, wood, grass and leaves.

Keep plenty of water and a shovel handy. Water or dirt can help contain a fire if it gets out of control. Even a small breeze can kick up flame and embers, causing a fire to spread.

Once done with a fire, make sure all materials are fully extinguished and cooled. Drown the fire with water, ensuring embers, coals and sticks are wet. If water is not available, dirt or sand can be mixed in with the embers until they are fully cooled and no longer glowing.

Do not bury coals, as they can smolder and ignite.

For those wishing to light a campfire at Fort Riley, open burning must be approved by the fire department beforehand.


Burning of debris such as leaves, trash and even paperwork is not allowed at Fort Riley.

Those wishing to burn debris off post should contact their local fire department to ensure there are no bans or restrictions. Certain areas may also require a permit or have specifications and guidelines for burns.

Gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid should never be used to start a fire outdoors. Fires should be kept at least 75 feet from all buildings and should never be left unattended.

Extinguishers, water or shovels for dirt should be kept on hand to extinguish a fire if need be. As with campfires, wind can pick up and quickly spread a fire.

“(People) tend to overlook that embers can fly off of the fire and possibly spread or catch something else on fire,” Sullivan said.


If a fire gets out of control, call the fire department at the first sign of spreading. Do not delay.  

Tag Fire Safety