TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Memorial Day Weekend is a sign of the start of summer across the country as thousands cook out and head to the pool for the first time in 2023. For Terre Haute Fire Chief Bill Berry, it’s also a time to issue reminders on important fire safety tips for the upcoming summer. 

Berry said the biggest concern is following city ordinances for fire pits. 

“Fire pits aren’t supposed to be over three feet in diameter, and the flames aren’t supposed to be over three feet high. The only thing you’re allowed to burn in open fire pits in the city limits is seasoned firewood,” he said. “No trash whatsoever or no items that have any chemicals in it.”

Berry said over the years, he’s seen many fires spread due to negligence This includes not always having someone watch the fire, not keeping it the proper distance away from other materials or starting one when it’s too windy outside. 

“If winds are high, you don’t burn, you don’t burn in open fire pits and even out in the county you don’t burn in trash cans, it’s going to spread. We recently had some fires like that around here. We want to make sure you’re safe,” he said. 

While THFD won’t go around checking fire pits over the coming weeks, Berry said they are always prepared to respond to reports from residents.

“I think the fire pit thing is really important because that is, we don’t want to be the police out there. But if we continue to get continued complaints on individual people, then our investigating team will go out and find people,” he said. “We want you to be safe, we want your neighbors to be safe, we want you guys having a great time this Memorial Day weekend.”