Enjoy the fire, but stay beach safe

It’s a great flourish to end an epic day — the warmth and light of a fire kindled with driftwood still smelling of salt and the ocean

Beach fires are usually easy to start and burn nicely with the ocean breeze. A fire can be big on the list of fun for visitors to the beach.

But conditions are turning dry with the advent of summer and the state parks department joins fire departments along the coast in urging caution and the following of simple steps to make sure the fun doesn’t get out of hand.

Here’s what you should know before kindling that blaze:

Check to make sure a burn ban is not in effect for that beach due to weather. Monitor the media, check with local parks officials and look for posted signs at beach parking areas.

Fires should only be started on open sand away from vegetation and driftwood.

Never leave a fire unattended.

Manage your fuel: Use small pieces and never burn logs, which can create large flames or smoulder dangerously even when extinguished with water.

Limit the size of the fire. Keep flames no higher than knee height to prevent embers from becomes airborne.

Always keep a bucket of water handy to extinguish the fire if necessary.

When the fun is over, thoroughly douse the embers with water. Shoveling sand over the coals in no substitute and can trap heat that has the potential to burn people’s feet many hours later.

Stay safe and enjoy all that our beaches have to offer.