Keep your fires under control - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Keep your fires under control

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KENNEWICK, WA - For many of us, Memorial Day weekend means barbecues, camping, swimming, and lots of fun. But whenever fire is involved, care needs to be taken to make sure the flames don't spread.

Reporter Rex Carlin spoke with Kennewick Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Terpenning about how it's seemingly every year that we hear about fires that spread because campers didn't put their campfire out. Terpenning says all it takes is some responsibility as the fire is winding down to make sure it's completely out.

"I always recommend towards the end of the night, when you're winding down, you're going to probably have the fire out in a half hour; don't put anymore wood in the fire," Terpenning said. "Then when it gets down to manageable coals, put water on the fire to extinguish it."

But Terpenning says the most common fires they see this time of year aren't actually neglected campfires or barbecues.

"The number one cause of fires we've had in the Tri-Cities for the last three or four years are the cigarette fires in the potting soil," he said. "Again, this time of year people are having family over, they're having friends over for the barbecues. If you have people who are smoking and they're on the deck, make sure you have a proper container for disposing those cigarettes."

Terpenning says in almost every fire, the one common theme is human involvement, so he says simply being aware and taking care of the space you're in will likely prevent a disaster from happening at your hands. 

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