Wednesday, 14 August 2013

of Fire Pits, Hollow Logs, and Forest Fire Lessons

I fired up the old fire pit the other night. I really don't know why we don't do that more than we do; I sure enjoy it. A couple hot dogs, perhaps a few roasted marshmallows, a glass or two of my home made hootch, add the company of my favourite wife (lol, OK, only wife) and a few good friends, and you have the perfect summer evening.

Note to self: Do it more often.

Well, this last time I learned an important lesson about fire pits; before you go in for the evening, make very certain your fire pit is completely out. I got up the next morning and noticed a fine line of smoke still rising from the fire pit. It was covered with a grate, and thankfully nothing came of it, but it had the potential to create a serious problem.

Lesson learned.

Upon closer examination, I noticed a log still in the fire pit, about three feet long, had been burned right through the centre, with most of the exterior still intact. It was almost as if it had been bored straight through with some giant drill. I thought, how cool is that? Apparently there were still enough hot embers in the bottom of the fire pit to burn right up through the centre of the log. I have never seen such a thing before.

It reminded me of a time a few years ago after some forest fires near Kelowna, BC. When we drove through some of the affected neighbourhoods afterwards, we saw several concrete driveways leading up to nothing more than a stone chimney; the rest of the house was completely incinerated by the advancing forest fire. But every once in a while, between two newly fire-vacated lots, there stood a house completely intact. Looking at it alone, one might be hard pressed to even realize that there even was a fire in that neighbourhood. It was like the fire jumped over a house from time to time, before advancing on to destroy the next property.

What is the point of all of this?

The point is, fire can be (or perhaps usually is) very unpredictable. Yes, I enjoy sitting around a fire pit; many people do. The important thing to remember, though, is to make sure you always use a proper and safe fire pit, and always be sure to make certain that it is completely out before you leave it unattended or turn in for the evening. You just never know when it will catch you by surprise and do the unexpected.

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