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From the Fire Marshal: Outdoor Entertaining Fire Safety

Warm weather is coming, and outdoor parties and celebrations are in the planning stage. While spending time with friends and family, enjoying food cooked on the grill and the ambience of firelight are pleasant activities, there is also the increased risk of home fires. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office offers some safety tips and guidelines to ensure that you and your guests stay safe. Please consider the following when you host your next event. Tour your yard for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions and correct the problems. Keep children and pets, as well as flammable objects, at least three feet from a heat source. Always have an adult present when a fire is burning, or a grill is in use. Five of six grills involved in home fires were gas fueled while the others used charcoal or other solid fuel. Each year clean the grill and check the gas cylinder hose for leaks or breaks before using it for the first time.

Outside fire pits and fireplaces cause thousands of grass and brush fires each year. Open burning of brush and vegetation for the sole purpose of disposal is not permitted in the Town of Orange except under special conditions and permits from the Fire Marshal’s Office. Only clean, seasoned hardwood shall be permitted for use in an Open Burn fire. No other materials such as construction debris, packaging, or other materials shall be used as fuel. Larger diameter season hardwood is permitted to be burned for the purposes of a campfire or cooking only. Agricultural burning for vegetation management is not permitted within the Town of Orange. If the permitted Open Burning is creating a condition deemed a health hazard or nuisance to others, the burning shall cease, and the permit revoked. An application, instructions and fee information for an open burn permit may be obtained at the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office website This ordinance does not apply to charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas appliances or barbeques used for food preparation. Also, recreational fire appliances such as commercially or privately manufactured firepits where the intent is to contain or control a fire are exempt. Reasonable safety precautions must be taken, including clearing of overgrown vegetation and trees in the burning area, providing a means of extinguishment, and having no other combustible material within twenty (20’) feet of the location permitted for burning. The permit issued to the Permittee by the Town of Orange Fire Marshal or his designee shall be present at all times that a fire is kindled until such time that the fire is completely extinguished and all open burning shall be constantly attended by the Permittee or his/her designee, provided that said person is at least eighteen (18) years of age, capable of extinguishing the fire with the provided extinguishing source, and able to contact the Fire Department in the event of an emergency. Burning shall not take place during an advisory of threatening weather, or wind conditions that exceed ten (10 mph) miles per hour, sustained winds or gusts, when the Fire Danger Rating for the day in which a permit is issued is listed as “HIGH” or greater or when the Air Quality Rating is rated at “75” or higher by the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

When using candles, place them in sturdy holders that will not tip over easily. More than half of all candle fires are caused by flammable objects being too close to the candle flame. Consider using battery operated or solar-powered flameless candles and tiki torches in place of an open flame.

For any questions or concerns about fire safety, fire prevention, or Open Burn permits please contact the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-891-4711 or visit the office, Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 pm.

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