Oohs, aahs and tips from the duh-but-youd-be-surprised file | SierraSun.com

Oohs, aahs and tips from the duh-but-youd-be-surprised file

Jamie BateSierra Sun

Per capita, the Truckee-North Tahoe area will surely have more oohs and aahs over the long Fourth of July weekend than any place else in the country. A quick count shows no less than five fireworks and laser displays scheduled between July 3 and July 5.Its all pretty amazing considering were sitting in a virtual tinderbox. But hey, most of the pyrotechnics will take place over our lakes conducted by, Im sure, highly trained pyro-professionals. I guess were safe.So, for those of you keeping score at home, there was a fireworks show in Kings Beach and a laser show at Squaw Valley on Thursday. If you missed those, today, the Fourth of July, would be a good day to clone yourself, as there are fireworks in Tahoe City, Donner Lake and Incline Village. After this Fourth of July, Im sure there will be lots of cricks in necks.

So where does all this talk of fireworks and the Fourth really lead? Hot dogs, of course. Well, not just dogs, but everything grillable. Just make sure that your house, deck or yard doesnt turn into a giant fireworks display or flaming barbecue all their own.One would think grills be they gas or charcoal are fairly benign backyard implements. Wrong. Folks who attended the fireworks show at Donner Lake three years ago will recall watching a double feature, as a lakeshore house went up in flames about the time the scheduled show ended. The cause was hot ashes from a grill.If you are barbecuing on a wood deck make sure no hot ashes fall through the vents and miss the little catcher-thingamig under the barbecue itself. The last thing you want is for a chunk of charcoal to fall between the cracks of the deck. If youre not careful you may end up watching your own way-too personal Fourth of July fireworks show.Here are a few tips from the duh-but-youd-be-surprised file: Ash disposal: Keep ashes in a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid for at least three days before disposal or douse the ashes with water until theyre cool to the touch. Do not spread ashes on the ground and dont leave them on the tray below the grill; they might blow away. Lighter fluid: Never squirt charcoal lighter fluid on hot or burning embers. (Its OK to admit that weve all done this stupid trick to get those damn coals going.) The bottle can suck air, and then fire, right back up to your hands. Location: Know how fire-prone your surroundings are and act accordingly. Only use barbecues away from combustible materials and away from structures or decks.That info from our files, courtesy of the Truckee Fire Protection District.

Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at jbate@sierrasun.com.