By Edward J. Chavez
JBLM Fire Prevention

We all like great looking outside areas, they call it curb appeal. There is something that can make your outside area more appealing -- beauty bark.

The beauty bark that everyone applies around their buildings can be as dangerous as gasoline when you add discarded smoking material.

The JBLM Fire Department responded to no less than seven beauty bark fires over the last month. In the state of Washington, the law says anyone can be ticketed with a fine of up to $ 1,200 for improperly discarding smoking material -- that means not putting smoking material in approved smoking disposal receptacle.

The JBLM Fire Prevention team recommends all units look at the location of their smoking areas:

>Ensure it's on a hard surface like a parking lot, concrete pad etc.

>Ensure there is a water source handy, just in case.

>Do not pour water into metal receptacle as, over time, it will rust.

>Ensure the receptacles are not in the dead grass or beauty bark under the trees.

In western Washington, we are still in the hottest time on the year. Your vigilance and following common sense practices will help ensure we have a great rest of the summer.

Any unit that requires assistance in establishing a smoking area contact your assigned JBLM fire inspector, if you don't know your inspector, call the JBLM Fire Prevention office at 253-966-7164.