Forest Fire prevention week

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The great Chicago fire that burned most of the city and killed hundreds is the reason that we observe fire prevention week every year.

As Smokey Bear says, only you can prevent forest fires and that's the message from the U.S. Forest Service.

Forest officials say we can help prevent fires if we bring awareness to it.  Fires are especially possible right now...with all the debris from Ike, which can serve as extra fuel for a fire.

"Just for people to be safe use common sense, indoors and out so that everyone's home and natural resources can be protected," says Mahlon Hammetter with the Forest Service.

Implementing fire safety precautions will help protect your family and your home.

There are several precautions that can reduce the likelihood of home fire damage or losses.

* Avoid overloading extension cords or electrical outlets. Replace damaged electrical cords and use extension cords for temporary wiring only.

* Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended.

* Store flammable liquids in outbuildings away from gas water heaters and other ignition sources.

* Make sure that you have smoke detectors installed, replace batteries with each time change and regularly check to make sure that detectors are working.

* Keep flammable materials away from ignition sources, such as space heaters or candles.

Implementing fire safety precautions outdoors is just as important.  Helpful fire prevention tips he suggested for the outdoors include:

* Establish wide control lines around burn receptacles and brush piles to be burned to help keep possible flying embers from reaching flammable vegetation.

* Dispose of smoking materials in vehicle ash trays to help prevent roadside wildfires

* Crushing smokes and matches in bare soil to help prevent fires caused by outdoor users.

* Avoid driving or parking in tall, dry grass.

* Build campfires in open, level spots away from trees and overhanging branches. Keep fires small and extinguish them cold to the touch before leaving.